You can’t prove it, but the signs are there. So how do you deal with suspected drug abuse or addictions without violating privacy rights or making false accusations?

1. Get professional advice. You may think you’re spotting the signs of drug abuse, but most likely you’re not a pro at it. So contact a pro – a doctor or a drug counselor to learn if what you’re seeing is the real thing or just something else that looks like the real thing. Explore with the pros the possible courses of action for treatment. What’s available? What has the best record of success? At the very least, you want some professional opinion and backup before you go to the next steps.

2. Approach the person, but not as an enforcer. Approach the person as a concerned colleague/parent or friend. Explain that you’ve noticed a problem and have consulted with professionals to confirm your suspicions. And then attack the problem (not the person) from the angle that, first and foremost, you want to help the person. It is important to accept him/her as a person and to distinguish between the person and the problem!

3. Present a plan and do what you can to implement it. Lay out a plan for the person and your role in it – as a coach or just someone to talk to. At that point, it’s up to the person to take action. You know how it goes: You can lead a horse to water, but If the person doesn’t respond properly and performance or behavior becomes an issue, you can deal with that under policies and/or disciplinary rules as in corporate cases. There are counselors and other professionals who can be contacted that will work with such person’s to get them admitted into a center if needed.

4. Never BAIL the person out. The longer the addictions continue, the more complicated it gets and the deeper the person sinks into the claws of addiction. The worst thing you can do for a person with an addiction is to bail them out, whether it is financially, by covering for them or in any other situation/circumstances.

5. How to replace bad habits. Getting an addicted person to stop abusing drugs is just one part of a long and complex recovery process. When people enter treatment, addiction has often taken over their lives. The compulsion to get drugs, take drugs and experience the effects of drugs has dominated their every waking moment, and drug abuse has taken the place of all the things they used to enjoy doing. It disrupts their function in their family lives, at work and in the community. Because addiction can affect so many aspects of a person’s life, treatment must address the needs of the whole person in order to be successful.