Ask your network for support

Here are some tips for talking to your employer, friends, and family about treatment.

What do I tell friends and family? 

Having a community of people that you can rely on, whether it’s a recovery support group or siblings and other family, helps with recovery. If you would like to tell your friends or family members about receiving treatment, here are some things to consider: 

  • It’s your personal medical information, so you’re not obligated to share with anyone. Don’t feel that you have to share. 
  • If you would like their support, just be honest and share what you have been going through.
  • You can tell them that when people enter treatment with the support of family and friends, their outcomes are better. 
  • Share that you might not know what to expect. Ask them for kindness and compassion, and thank them for their support. 
  • Ask them to get naloxone or other medications to reverse an overdose. Anyone can save a life. Naloxone is available over the counter at pharmacies in most states. You can also visit the Harm Reduction Coalition’s naloxone finder which connects people with free naloxone and other harm reduction supplies.

What am I required to tell my employer?

Depending on the level of care needed and recommended by your medical provider, you may be able to utilize paid vacation and/or sick time to receive treatment. If this is the case, you are not required to tell your employer the reason for your time off. You can simply request to have the time off and indicate that it is medical in nature. 

However, if your medical provider is recommending inpatient treatment for an extended period of time, you may need to request a medical leave of absence. Under protection of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), employees are entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Treatment for addiction that requires inpatient residential treatment is a serious health condition. Learn more here

Obtain a note and recommendation from your medical provider to provide to your employer.