Lehigh Valley

Encouraging an addict to get help

Encouraging an addict to get help

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Relatives of a man arrested for the March 19th shooting deaths of his neighbors in Monroe County said the man, Garry Flyte, had a drug problem and their efforts to help him were unsuccessful.

If you know someone battling an addiction and want to encourage them to get help, it's important to know how to approach it and where to start.

"The help can't happen unless they agree to have the help happen," said Lauren Gass, an addictions counselor with the Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Allentown.

The encouragement of a family member or friend could be just what an addict needs to make the decision to seek help.

"Don't get frustrated if there's roadblocks," Gass explained.

"When it comes to approaching a family member, I think it's important that you be realistic and concrete. Come up with numbers, come up with places for them to call," she said, adding that you can even make a phone call first to learn more and then pass the phone number along to the person you are trying to help.

"A lot of time, labels are a big thing. 'I think you're an alcoholic,' that might be a little too strong to say to somebody so maybe, 'Hey, I think you might be drinking a little too much, maybe you might want to give these people a call to talk about it,'" she said.

There are also support groups for family members of addicts.

Gass said treatment is not always an easy thing for someone to accept, so don't give up in your efforts to help.

It's also critical to offer encouragement and let the person know you are there for him or her.

"Persistence, persistence, persistence. You may hit roadblocks along the way but the most important thing to remember is that this person needs assistance and may not know that they need it at this present time," Gass said.

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