My brother is an addict. He often becomes violent and aggressive. What can we do? How can we have him locked up against his will?

We understand the desperation you feel at your brother’s situation—it is the users’ families who suffer most from the consequences of their addiction, and having an addict in the family is physically and mentally exhausting. However, there is another side to the coin: the family is also best placed to influence the user, and with the right education and support, they can motivate an addict to change the way they live. But this requires commitment and determination, and the whole family will have to work patiently, steadily and determinedly towards this goal, sometimes for many years. You can’t lock your brother up in a treatment centre against his will, because participation in programmes is voluntary at every stage. It should be said, though, that while his confinement would undoubtedly bring relief, albeit temporarily, it could never actually solve the problem. Of course, you have every right to protect yourself and your mental and physical well-being from your brother’s violent reactions. Start by thinking up ways of keeping him at a distance, as far away as necessary to give the family some respite. You could seek the help of the authorities, move away, even if it’s only temporarily, or seek help from family and friends who could help you when the situation gets critical. Don’t hesitate to contact us, if you feel in need of any further information.

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