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Opioid Matters: Support for Families and Loved Ones

When a family member of loved one is struggling with a substance or alcohol use disorder, it can have a profound effect on the family. Depending on the severity of the situation, the person with the disorder can create chaos in the home by stealing from family members, acting violently or acting despondently and not partaking in family activities or meals. They can skip work or school or get themselves arrested. It can make the home—which should be a place of comfort and serenity—feel like a war zone or like one of the family members is missing.

Too often, we try to deal with this situation on our own because we want to keep these matters private or are ashamed of our loved one and how he or she is behaving. But there are many others who share similar experiences, and there is comfort in knowing you are not alone. Al-anon and Nar-Anon meetings can be very helpful for family members and loved ones who are struggling in this situation.

Al-Anon and Nar-Anon Family Groups

For local Al-Anon meetings, visit al-anon.alateen.org. Please note: If your loved ones’ issue isn’t alcohol, it’s okay; everyone is welcome no matter the substance their family member is using. Meetings are available in person or online: al-anon.org/al-anon-meetings. But if you really need a hug, in person is the better option. At Abington Hospital, there is a meeting for Adult Children of Alcoholics. There are Al-Anon meetings at AHC - Warminster on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m, as well as at Abington Hospital on Sundays from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Alateen meetings for people age 8-21 whose lives have been affected by alcoholism or addiction in a family member or close friend are on Tuesday evenings from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

For information about meetings that are offered at Abington - Jefferson Health locations, visit Support Groups.

For Nar-Anon meetings, visit eparna.org.

NAMI

Since substance use disorder is often co-occurring with mental health issues, NAMI is another option for support. NAMI is the abbreviation of the National Alliance on Mental Health, and the organization has local meetings; information can be accessed at nami.org.

To speak to a live person at NAMI, call 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information on substance use disorder and available resources and support, visit Help for Opioid Use Disorder.

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