Should I tell my friend’s parents that he does drugs?

It is hard to know what to do when you know your friend has a drug problem. You think about your friend constantly. You have watched it get worse and worse. You miss your friend, and you want him to be ok. You know he needs help. Should you tell your friend’s parents that he does drugs? Before you make any decisions, it is best to get a clear view of what is going on with your friend. Identifying the signs you may be seeing of drug use is one place to start. There are physical signs that you can look for as well as psychological and behavioral. Depending on how well you know your friend and how much time you spend around him, you may have seen some of these signs, none of the signs, or all of them.


There are physical and behavioral signs that you can look for. These can include:

  • weight loss or gain
  • marks on his skin
  • he has a frequent runny nose
  • his eyes are bloodshot
  • he doesn’t seem to have the same energy he once had
  • you have noticed he is having problems keeping his clothes and himself clean
  • he has a chemical odor on his breath or on his clothes

Other behavioral signs can include:

  • changes in how he acts and who he hangs out with
  • avoiding spending time with his family
  • grades are falling
  • lying to you and others
  • failing at responsibilities that once he was on top of

Finally, there can be psychological signs such as:

  • seeming distant, not engaging with others
  • moving away from loving and good relationships
  • isolating himself
  • different though processes that are negative about himself but also about life in general

Additionally, mental illnesses can develop such as depression and anxiety, as well as paranoid and obsessive thoughts.


Now that you have become familiar with some of the signs of drug use, perhaps you are still concerned, and maybe even more so. The question remains, do I tell my friend’s parents? Now, let’s think about your relationship with his parents and what you hope to gain from telling them. Knowing your friend’s parents isn’t necessary, but it can help. Knowing the family can give you some insight into how they may react. Having an indication if they may be supportive can undoubtedly help with the decision of whether to tell his parents. You may know, from being around his parents, that they also consume drugs. Perhaps this is another indication of whether they are someone that will help your friend. Knowing the family’s interactions and how well they get along, if important matters are discussed within the family or if this may be a topic that will not be addressed and perhaps, not much will be done about the situation.


Parents can offer some benefits that others may not be able to. The first is insurance that may cover the cost of treatment. There are many different treatment centers and treatment options. There are some cities and counties that will help with treatment, while other options may require insurance or a large sum of money to cover all or some of the costs. Also, families tend to be the closest to the person. They may be able to help you influence them to get help.

Additionally, consider if your friend is living with his parents. If that is the case, they may be seeing signs but are not sure that is what they are seeing. They may already be concerned, and hearing it from their son’s friend might be what they need to act. You have identified the signs you are seeing, and you have weighed the pros and cons of telling his parents. Whether you do or don’t tell his parents, there are other things you can do.

Knowing what other people are in your friend’s life is helpful. Perhaps there are friends, teachers, team members, or co-workers that are also concerned. They all can offer support to you and your friend, along with or aside from his parents. Whatever you decide to do, it is because you care for and love your friend. Whether you tell his parents or gather others to influence him to get help, getting help is the ultimate goal. If you, or someone you know, has a drug problem, please ask for help. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day. Call 833-285-1315.