ASK THE DOC–How can I help my family member struggling with addiction?

QUESTION: My family member needs help with substance use disorder. What do you suggest?

ANSWER As an initial action, I would recommend they get established with a primary care provider that operates the practice with a Patient Centered Medical Home model. This is a designation that signifies that the clinic provides comprehensive care to patients in multiple aspects of a patient’s life. This kind of patient-centered care is often needed to support anyone who has a substance use disorder. You can call and ask clinic administration if they offer these services. If that resource is not available, it is still a good idea to establish with a primary care provider at any practice. There are a number of medical management strategies that can be very effective in helping those with substance use disorder. If family feel comfortable, it would be helpful to have them attend the appointment at the primary care office with the patient.

Next, it would be a good idea for family of the patient to get plugged in with community resources. There are many resources in West Virginia to help family members of those with substance use disorder. One of the most established organizations for this purpose is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration or SAMHSA. The West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources connects with SAMHSA and has multiple websites that are very informative and helpful for families. Two of my favorite websites are and If you do not have access to the internet, the public library in your area might be able to help with this or you can call or text 1-844-HELP-4-WV to start getting help over the phone.

The most important thing to remember is that there are many healthcare providers and personnel in this state eager to help and support you and your family member. You don’t have to do this alone!

This question from a reader was answered by Christopher Kennedy, DO. He practices at Robert C. Byrd Clinic in Lewisburg.


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