SHIFT - SHIFTovation

Looking to help someone you care about?

If you are concerned that a friend or someone you care about is having a hard time and is using drugs or alcohol to cope with stress or other challenges, there are ways you can help. Letting them know you care can be a meaningful place to start, if it feels safe. Here are some here are some things you should consider before talking to a friend about substance use:


Think ahead about why you're talking to your friend about substance use; is it because you want to talk about your own use, their use, or maybe you'd just like to talk about limits before a night out. What are your goals for the conversation? What actions would you like to happen after you talk?


Language and intentions have power! Your tone, body language, and the way you speak about substance use can have an impact on the success of your conversation. Be compassionate and understanding, and avoid using stigmatizing language about use.


Timing is important! What time is most convenient/comfortable for you and your friend to talk about substance use? Depending on the reason for your conversation, timing can also be important if the goal is to gain support for seeking/helping a friend seek help for substance misuse.


Talking to your friend about use in a place that you or your friend don't feel comfortable or safe might not make for the best conversation. Think about the impact of location - you and your friend may be less likely to talk openly and honestly about use depending on where you are.

Here are some other helpful resources:


A university-wide initiative to promote the idea that individual Longhorns have the power to prevent high-risk behavior and harm. BeVocal offers facilitator trainings, implementation consultations, and monthly meetings and committees.

Behavior Concerns and COVID-19 Advice Line (BCAL)

If students, staff or faculty have concerns about someone else in the UT Austin community, contact the 24-hour line at 512-232-5050. The BCAL line was developed by UT-Austin in order to provide a central resource for those who are concerned about an individual and are not sure how to help them.


Wondering how you might connect with SHIFT? Well, howdy, partner!

The SHIFT Office
UT Austin
Student Services Building
100 W Dean Keeton Street

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