Drug Abuse Intervention

On This Page

Addiction and Drug Abuse

Drug abuse is one of the most serious health risks in the United States. People of all ages can fall into a destructive habit of using illicit or prescription drugs. Over time, the human body builds up a tolerance to the drug, and the person therefore needs more of it to get the same high. In many cases, people become physically and mentally dependent on drugs to function, and their whole lives begin to revolve around getting their next fix. This is addiction, and it often requires outside help to break free of the self-destructive cycle. In 2010, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 21.5 percent of adults reported using illegal drugs.

Resources exist to help addicts get back on their feet, but the first step to recovery is admitting that a problem exists and that it cannot be solved without assistance. Many people who are addicted to drugs either don’t know or refuse to admit that their addiction exists. Without help, the person would likely never change and therefore need outside persuasion. A drug intervention allows a small group of friends and family to approach the person. It is intended to convince the drug abuser that addiction has become a serious problem and professional help is necessary. If you or someone you know needs help facing a drug addiction, call us at 1-888-744-0069 today.

Staging an Intervention

The main point of the intervention is to deliver a firm ultimatum: Either the addict gets help or sacrifices his or her relationships with friends and family. Being willing to follow through on this ultimatum-walking out on the person’s life-is essential to recovery.

When planning an intervention, you do not want the addict to know about it because he or she can (and likely will) take steps to avoid the meeting. You need to decide who will be present at the meeting; gathering a small network of close family and friends is usually the best approach. The closer the person is to the addict, the more effective his or her statements will be.

Another important step is to put aside any personal issues with other people at the intervention. Everyone has the same goal, and all members should work together to accomplish it. Everyone should plan in advance what to say during the meeting. Each person should rehearse and memorize this statement. All grievances that pertain to the addiction need to be addressed.

When conducting the intervention, avoid taking an accusing tone. Use “I” statements; this shifts the focus to how you feel about the problem, rather than pointing fingers and inducing feelings of guilt, or putting the person on the defensive.

Professional Interventionists

Even the most well-meaning friends and relatives may not be able to conduct an intervention with the necessary detachment. All friends and family members have some level of personal bias that creates blindness to their loved one’s shortcomings; some might be in denial about the addiction. In such situations, a professional interventionist can help.

This professional works with the family of the addict to determine the social dynamics at play and helps each person to prepare a personal statement for the intervention. The professional also acts as a mediator to keep family members and friends from becoming harsh or accusatory toward the addict. Most importantly, the interventionist provides a professional background in drug rehab treatment and an objective viewpoint. Without the presence of the interventionist, the addict might simply brush off concerns as someone else’s problem, so the presence of a non-biased person lends credibility to the scenario.

The first part of the interventionist’s job involves speaking to the addict’s family members and friends to determine the history of the subject’s history, including home/work dynamics and the length of time the person has been addicted to the drug. Approaching someone who has recently become addicted must be done differently than approaching someone who has been an addict for years. Every person is different and requires a unique approach; the interventionist will gain as much secondhand information as possible.

Drug rehab centers typically employ several interventionists. After a successful intervention, a center will help arrange for treatment and get the person to the facility. In some cases, staff members might also act as therapists during the addict’s treatment.

Hiring a professional to conduct and plan the intervention has another advantage: It allows focus on the other affected family members. Addiction causes problems for everyone, not just the person abusing the drugs. In the event of a failed intervention, the professional helps the other participants follow through with the consequences they agreed upon during the meeting. That could be removing further financial support, ending a romantic relationship or simply severing contact altogether. The interventionist provides moral and psychological support in the hopes that the addict will come around and admit the need for treatment.

According to SAMHSA, only 11.2 percent of people who needed treatment in 2010 ended up receiving it. If you or someone you know is suffering from a drug addiction, we can help. Call us at 1-888-744-0069 today to get started with the recovery process.

American Addiction Centers
Treatment Facilities Nationwide
The content on DrugAbuse.com is brought to you by American Addiction Centers (AAC), a nationwide network of leading substance abuse and behavioral treatment facilities.
American Addiction Centers Facility Map
BROWSE OUR TREATMENT FACILITIES
american addiction centers photo
The editorial staff of DrugAbuse.com is comprised of addiction content experts from American Addiction Centers . Our editors and medical reviewers have over a decade of cumulative experience in medical content editing and have reviewed thousands of pages for accuracy and relevance. Our reviewers consistently monitor the latest research from SAMHSA, NIDA, and other reputable sources to provide our readers the most accurate content on the web.
Popular Providers