How do you help an addict hundreds of miles away?

Readers Question Readers Question: (Name changed for privacy)
Stanton Peele Response by: Dr. Stanton Peele
Posted on February 28th, 2010 - Last updated: November 21st, 2023
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Dear Stanton,

I have recently discovered the nature of a long time friend’s problems with school, mother, father, law, etc. have been due to methamphetamine. I see a lot of your site seems to be devoted to alcohol and opiate treatment, not so much on amphetamines. I’m not quite sure how long this has been going on for, but my best guess would be for about 2-3 years (he is 16 now). We have not been in close touch for about that time, which was when he started having trouble at school and with his parents.

He lives in Los Angeles with his mother and I am located in the San Francisco Bay Area, so any contact we’ve had in the past few years has been over the phone. He was arrested about a year ago for assault and was arrested just the other day as he was posing a serious threat to his mother; she now fears for her own safety around him. I believe he will be facing some time in juvenile hall, as they found some paraphernalia in his room and maybe from methamphetamine (I’m not sure if they actually found any drugs though). I do not want to see this kid life ruined by this addiction, so I want to help him in any way possible. From what I un der stand, most treatment programs do not seem to be terribly successful in the long term, especially when the addict is not willing to quit. This is a rather long description for a simple question, but basically I want to know if there is anything I can do to help him out. Perhaps I can’t help him directly, but maybe there some direction I can give his mother to help him overcome the addiction.




You haven’t been in touch with this young man for some time — from the age of 14, despite his arrest and conflict with his parents. If it is hard to treat addiction to meth, then how will you do so hundreds of miles away? I would suggest starting by being in touch with him as much as you can to establish a relationship and to better understand his problems.


Stanton Peele

Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.

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