Drug Intervention Programs

  1. Table of ContentsPrint
  2. What Is a Drug Intervention?
  3. Is a Drug Intervention Necessary?
  4. When Is The Right Time?
  5. A Professional Intervention Can Help
  6. Finding an Interventionist
  7. Intervention Models
  8. Preparing for Success and the Possibility of Failure


What Is a Drug Intervention?

A successful intervention is not a confrontation but an opportunity for an addicted individual to accept help in taking the first step toward recovery.

A drug intervention is a structured, solution-oriented process undertaken to persuade someone who has a problem with drug or alcohol abuse to seek help in overcoming the addiction. Family, friends, and others involved in the person's life use the intervention to demonstrate the extent of the effects of substance abuse or alcoholism and related behaviors.

A successful intervention is not a confrontation but an opportunity for an addicted individual to accept help in taking the first step toward recovery. Often, an interventionist is invited to serve as a guide and educator before, during, and after the intervention.

Find out what you need to know before staging an intervention.

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Is a Drug Intervention Necessary?

Some people struggling with substance abuse and addiction can and do recognize the extent of the problems stemming from drug abuse and seek treatment without the need for an intervention. Many, however, are reluctant or unable to realize that drugs are responsible for the problems in their relationships, health, or work and often ignore the safety issues related to drinking and driving and other high-risk behaviors.

It is common for addicts to deny that drugs are the source of the difficulties they face. They may instead blame other people or circumstances in their lives. When that happens, an intervention can break through the denial and help these individuals clearly see the effects of their drug abuse on the people who matter most to them.

Video: How Effective Is an Intervention?

The following video from Howcast discusses the factors that can affect the success of an intervention.

Credit: Howcast

When Is The Right Time?

A long-held belief is that an addict must reach rock bottom before they will be ready to seek help. This view has been largely debunked by the addiction treatment community. The Indiana Prevention and Resource Center recommends that family and friends intervene early, helping their addicted loved one before sustained damage occurs due to the addiction.

A treatment plan should be in place so the individual can proceed directly to treatment after the invention, if they agree to get help.

This means that loved ones should secure a spot in a treatment program and have a bag packed. Oftentimes, the professional interventionist will escort the addicted individual to rehab, ensuring they make it there safely.

A Professional Intervention Can Help

The truth is that an intervention is a conversation with a lot riding on it.


When it comes to staging an intervention for a loved one who has been abusing drugs or alcohol, it can be tempting to go it alone. Some individuals may wonder if a professional intervention is necessary if it's simply just a conversation with a loved one.

The truth is that an intervention is a conversation with a lot riding on it. Oftentimes, addicts are in denial about their substance abuse and may react angrily, and even violently, when confronted.

A professional interventionist can help to ensure that the invention runs smoothly, giving your loved one the optimal chance of choosing to get help.

Since interventions can be wrought with emotions, the interventionist will ensure that the conversation stays on track. While participants may want to express the hurt and anger they've felt at the addict's actions, the intervention isn't about the other participants - the sole purpose is to get the addict to seek help. A professional intervention works to keep accusations and name-calling out of the equation, keeping the central focus on the long-term health of the addict. PsychCentral advocates for the presence of a professional, warning that unmoderated interventions can be counterproductive.

Finding an Interventionist

Experienced interventionists have the knowledge and training to help families, friends, and coworkers participate in the intervention in a helpful and nonjudgmental manner. They typically:

  • Conduct pre-intervention preparation.
  • Serve as moderators during the intervention.
  • Provide assistance in transitioning individuals into rehab programs after successful interventions.

To find a qualified interventionist and learn about your options, call 1-888-744-0069Who Answers? and speak with an addiction treatment advisor.

Video: Intervention Follow-Up: John

In the following video, John, a former alcoholic and crack cocaine addict, discusses the positive changes in his life since his own intervention.

Credit: A&E

Intervention Models

During intervention, the group focuses on a consistent, collective expression of caring and support for the individual.

Interventionists implement various models. The Johnson model contrasts the individual's positive personality traits with negative traits resulting from the addiction. During intervention, the group focuses on a consistent, collective expression of caring and support for the individual.

According to the Association of Intervention Specialists, more than 90% of addicts are willing to seek treatment after experiencing the Johnson model. The systemic model assumes that all participants in the intervention process will become involved in recovery. They all receive education and counseling even if the addicted individual refuses therapy.

Under the ARISE model, the addicted person is involved in the process from the beginning rather than being pulled into the intervention without warning. The model focuses on introducing the entire family to recovery and healing, with no shame or blame involved.


Preparing for Success and the Possibility of Failure

drugabuse_istock-23912797-man-in-interventionAt the end of a successful drug abuse intervention, the addicted individual enters a treatment program. It's likely that the person's motivation to seek help is high at that point, so having a plan of action for implementing the best treatment option is crucial.

An interventionist can guide the family in choosing the best treatment model for the situation and make preliminary arrangements in anticipation of a successful outcome. To encourage the individual to enter treatment immediately, the family is often asked to pack a bag and make any necessary living arrangements in advance.

All is not lost, however, if the intervention fails. Participants may have told the individual durin the intervention that they will no longer tolerate certain behaviors. The interventionist can help them follow through on their resolutions if the addicted individual rejects treatment.

In addition, hearing the ways in which drinking and subsequent behaviors have negatively affected family and friends may plant a seed that takes weeks or even months to bear fruit.

By providing the addicted individual with information about available treatment alternatives, the intervention may increase the likelihood of future treatment.