What to Do When a Loved One is Stealing From You For Drugs

Addiction is a crippling disease that takes over every aspect of a person. It robs a person of integrity and character because getting their drug of choice is the most important goal. Unfortunately, many resorts to lying and stealing from family and close friends to meet that goal.

After a time, they may become a shell of their former self and become unrecognizable. It can be disheartening to discover that a friend or a family member is stealing for drug money. However, you can do things and steps you can take to prevent it from happening again while also getting your loved one help.

Table of Contents

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Understanding Addiction as a Disease

Addiction is a complex disease for those who are lucky enough to be spared from it will not understand it. Unless you have experienced any addiction, it is tough to understand its power.

How an addiction to drugs affects the brain makes the person a completely different person. Getting rid of addiction is a challenge that takes a strong will and a lot of work.

Addiction is a beast to get rid of as it can play tricks on the mind and have complete control. The effects it has on the human brain will make them do things that are uncharacteristic of them.
Long-term use also causes changes in other brain chemical systems and circuits, affecting functions that include:

  • learning
  • judgment
  • decision-making
  • stress
  • memory
  • behavior

Despite being aware of these harmful outcomes, many people who use drugs continue to take them, which is the nature of addiction. There is no real way to forecast that a person will become a drug addict, but there are indicators that there is potential to become one.

The biology, environment, and development of a person can contribute to being a drug addict. A person growing up around drug addicts and having genetics is something to factor in.

When a person grows up and witnesses their parents or family members stealing for drugs, that is a powerful thing to see. But drug addiction is preventable, and there are measures people can take.

Family, friends, and outsiders such as teachers can help younger people from getting trapped in the perils of addiction.

Education is available for adults to give to the younger to help prevent them from becoming drug addicts. 

Drug Use and Crime Statistics

As time passes, please know that theft-related crimes will escalate into violent theft crimes, leading to prison time. The statistics speak for themselves:

  • 85% of the prison population has an active substance use disorder or were incarcerated for a crime involving drugs or drug use.
  • 23.3% of individuals who committed robberies were influenced by drugs or alcohol.

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How to Know for Sure They are Stealing For Drugs

When an addicted person is stealing for drugs, they are in survival mode. In survival mode, the mind and any convictions of wrongdoing are gone, or at least temporarily suspended until later.

Any means necessary mentality exists that tells them they must lie, cheat, and steal to fund their drug habit. As disheartening as it may be, uncovering theft presents an opportunity to talk to a loved one about their addiction.

Signs and Behaviors

  • Theft
  • Lying
  • Suspicious behavior
  • Burglary
  • Forgery
  • The excuse of why money is needed does not add up
  • The frequency the addict asks for money

A lot of crimes are committed by addicted individuals stealing money for drugs. An addict will not hesitate to do what they must do to get their fix.  If you catch a friend or a family member stealing for drugs, these typical excuses can be: “I was going to pay you later”  

 “You told me I could take the money, remember?”

 “I was going to pay you back before you noticed”  

Sometimes it can be a misunderstanding, but an addict can take advantage of that after a while.  Then the issue becomes a regular occurrence.

Addicts are crafty and resilient and can find a way to fill their needs. They do not care who they can snow anyone in the process.
If you do indeed catch an addict in the act, it is crucial not to come down hard on them. It may be a challenge but asking questions and offering help is the best strategy.

Most addicts will deny that they have a problem or that they even stole from you. In this situation, it is more beneficial to show love and compassion and offer to help.

Getting an addict to admit their drug problem is tough, but it is critical to express how getting help will set them free.

It is imperative to set aside any feeling of hurt and focus on getting them help before it is too late.  

How to Approach Your Loved One When They are in Denial

Denial is a tough battle for a person to fight, especially if the denial of their addiction is slowly is killing them. As a family member or a friend, you have done all you can for them, there comes of point of home much longer are you going to take it.

Or maybe you are just plain sick of being lied to and seeing a drug addict stealing for drug money. It comes to a point where the addict will eventually go to jail or end up dead.

This is a situation where a direct heart-to-heart conversation sometimes starts helping a person escape the wrath addiction brings every day.

Sometimes that does not work, as it can be tough to convince an addict to get help on your own. Sometimes it takes an army of people, professionals to give the addict the wake-call they need. An intervention is a lifesaver for an addict.

An intervention is helpful because an outsider (an interventionist) come in and assist may be just the nudge an addicted person needs. 

An intervention is a carefully planned process done by family and friends, in consultation with a doctor or professional such as a licensed alcohol and drug counselor, or directed by an intervention professional (interventionist).

It sometimes involves a member of your loved ones. During the intervention, these people gather to confront their loved ones about the consequences of addiction and ask them to accept treatment. The intervention: 

  • Provides specific examples of destructive behaviors and their impact on your loved one with the addiction and family and friends
  • Offers a prearranged treatment plan with clear and concise steps, goals, and guidelines
  • Spells out what each person will do if your loved one refuses to accept treatment

Interventions have a 90 percent success rate in getting an addict to pursue treatment. It is also imperative to have an interventionist command the ship to ensure that the intervention is a success. Once an addict has checked into treatment, it is crucial to be there for them through the entire process to ensure sobriety.

How Can I Help Them Once They are in Recovery?

Being in a recovery program is a daily walk that poses many challenges and triumphs. It is crucial as a supportive member of their network to tell them how proud you are and how much courage facing addiction takes.

It is essential to stress how beneficial it is for them to see the program through. The support you and others provide is vital to their recovery and will keep them going.

When residential treatment is over, your friend will have to re-enter the community. That can sometimes be just as challenging as starting a treatment program.

There will be triggers everywhere that could promote a relapse—such as driving by places where the person once took drugs or seeing friends who provided those drugs.


You can encourage your friend to avoid these triggers, and you can try to help identify those triggers. It can be easy for an addict to resort to old habits such as stealing for drugs, so offering as much love and support is imperative.
When relapse does occur, it is recommended not to come down too hard on them but be there and show a little tough love in the process.

It is also encouraged to get them to return to treatment if the addiction returns.  Self-help groups like 12-step programs can be a great source of support but are not treatment alternatives.

12- step programs offer encouragement while a person is engaged in a treatment program and after. Most drug addiction treatment programs will suggest to addicts to partake in a self-help group during and after initial treatment.

These groups can be particularly beneficial during the recovery process, as they are a source of ongoing communal support and encouragement to stay in recovery.

Fighting addiction in unity is the best defense in beating addiction and sustaining recovery.

There’s Hope for Your Addicted Loved One

Seeing someone you care about becoming a drug addict stealing for drug money is heartbreaking. Stealing from family members, let those words sink in.


It can be daunting to regularly put up with that situation, but there is something you can do. You have the power to be the voice of the reason to show you care and the way to a better life.


When friends and family give their support, it can benefit a person to pursue or stick with treatment, even when it can be challenging.

Without proper guidance, a person can get deeper into the darkness of addiction that can lead to legal, financial, and fatal consequences.

That is why it is imperative to seek help for addiction. Through rehab, a person can learn how to stop addiction in its tracks and keep it that way.

Addiction is deceitful, but it is preventable. We offer drug and alcohol treatment resources for the people of New York City.

We work with drug and alcohol recovery programs that help people with substance use disorders.

The main objective of treatment is for the addict to realize what their addiction does to them and those around them, learn to recognize and stay away from triggers that lead them to use, and eventually discover a new life in recovery.

Ready to seek help? Have questions about addiction treatment for a loved one? Give us a call at (888) 906-0952

Sources of Information

[1] Drugabuse.gov
[2] Drugabuse.gov II
[3] Drugabuse.gov II
[4] Drug-Related Crime Statistics

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ABTRS Writers

ABTRS Writers

The ABTRS Writing team is a group of writers specializing in addiction and recovery topics.