PMP Blog

The PMP Blog offers updates and resources for providers who use the PMP. The posts include timely information and guidance for effective use of the PMP to improve communication and patient-centered care.

Nov 2021

Supporting Families Affected by Substance Use Disorder

Addiction is sometimes referred to as a family disease. One person’s struggle with a substance use disorder (SUD) can affect an entire family system. Often, family members feel unable to help.

As a physician, your patients rely on you for more than just a diagnosis. They see you as a resource for health information and may ask you for guidance on how to handle a loved one’s substance use. By talking with them using person-centered language — with empathy and without stigma — you can make a difference.

It can be difficult, but the path to treatment and recovery starts with a conversation. When a patient brings up an addiction in the family, share these tips:

Talk to your loved one when you think they are sober and speak in a calm, caring tone

  • Stick to “I” statements to avoid blaming them. “I’m worried about you.”

Share what’s changed, connecting their misuse to their behavior

  • “I’ve noticed you’ve been missing work a lot lately.”

Reaffirm your relationship

  • Center the conversation on why you care about them and their health.
  • “As your parent, I’ll always care about you.”

Make a plan for treatment

  • Research treatment services in your area and work together to set up an appointment.

Get naloxone

  • Naloxone can reverse an opioid overdose and save a life.
  • Find out how to get naloxone near you at

Helping patients communicate with family members and find effective treat-ment for SUD can significantly impact their health outside of your office. To find local treatment and learn about recovery resources for you and your patients, go to

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