Help your friends

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People use drugs for all sorts of reasons. They might be stressed, curious, impulsive, or bored — or maybe their friends take drugs and offer them some. Whatever the reason, fentanyl is a real risk. Check out these resources to learn more and help others.

Spread the word

In 2020, 76% of drug deaths in people ages 14-23 involved fentanyl. (Source: CDC) Tell others about the dangers of fentanyl, and help your friends stay safe.

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Substance use and addiction

Has a friend's behavior changed recently? Are they taking an illegal drug or someone else's prescription pills? Is it having an impact on their health or their life?

If you're worried about a friend's drug use, let them know. They may not want to talk about it — but if they do, listen without judging. Ask if they want your help, and consider involving a trusted adult.

Save a life

illustration of three pill bottles with skull on top of the middle lid.

Have a friend who’s experimenting, recreationally using, or struggling with substances? Do these three things:

  1. Carry naloxone
  2. Know the signs of an overdose
  3. Be prepared to act

Treatment and recovery

Addiction can happen to anyone. It is very common, but only 1 out of every 10 people who need addiction treatment ever gets it. (Source: Shatterproof)

Learn more about addiction at 

Watch the National Institute on Drug Abuse's video to learn why drugs are so hard to quit.

Find treatment near you

Want to get help for yourself or a friend? Connect with local treatment centers through these links:

Stress, anxiety, and depression

Mental health matters. If you're overwhelmed with stress, anxiety, or depression, it's OK to ask for help. Talk to a parent or another trusted adult about what you're going through.

When people don't have healthy ways to cope, they may turn to illegal drugs or pills that were prescribed for someone else.

86% of people ages 13-17 feel overwhelmed. 79% say anxiety and stress is a common reason to misuse medication. Source:

What you can do

Ask your friends how they're doing. Let them know you're available if they ever want to talk. Some people try to hide that they're having a hard time, but talking about it is the first step toward getting help.

Mental health support

For tips on how to have these conversations, and to learn more about mental health, visit these websites:

Seize the Awkward and talk about mental health.

Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline to find local treatment.

Check out National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)'s fact sheets on mental healthdepression, and stress

Get help now

Illustration of hand holding a phone calling 988.

If you're experiencing a mental health emergency, call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline or text the Crisis Text Line.