Drug abuse intervention: 7 principles of successful drug interventions

It’s important to choose the right time, place, and participants for a successful drug intervention. More on best practices in drug abuse intervention here.

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Drug abuse interventions

Drug abuse interventions are carefully planned processes that are staged to convince a drug addict to quit using drugs and enter treatment. To accomplish this goal, a small group of an addict’s loved ones gathers together to confront the addict in an effort to persuade them to enter treatment. Drug abuse intervention specialists are usually consulted to help plan and stage drug abuse interventions.

How to stage a drug abuse intervention

If you need to know how to stage an intervention, it’s highly recommended that you speak to an intervention specialist. These professionals are knowledgeable about addiction and have a great deal of experience staging interventions. Here, we explain the usual steps of an intervention to give you a better idea about what you can expect from an drug or alcohol intervention.

The first step toward staging an intervention is planning it. You must decide who will participate in the intervention process, as well as decide when and where it will be help. During the planning stage of an intervention, each person should also decide what they will say and rehearse.

To start the intervention, one or more members of the group will need to get your loved one to the prearranged location at the right time. The rest of the group should already be there waiting. You or the intervention specialist will then need to convince the addict to stay and listen to your concerns. Once you’ve accomplished this, each member of the group will take turns addressing the addict about their drug use and what effect it has had.

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At the end of a drug abuse intervention, after everyone has had their say, you should present the addict with an ultimatum – they must either enter treatment or face certain consequences. For example, if an addict refuses treatment, you may choose to put an end to financial support, covering for them, or even banning them from family functions.

7 principles of successful drug interventions

Planning and staging an intervention is a delicate process. If a drug abuse intervention is not done properly, it can be a complete failure and even make the situation worse. The following list of 7 principles of successful drug interventions, however, can be used to help you plan and stage a successful intervention.

1. Meet with an intervention specialist. These professionals can help you plan and execute your intervention. A good intervention specialist can also help set up treatment for your loved one as well.

2. Choose the right people to participate in the intervention. This should include a small group of individuals who love and respect the addict. Never include anyone who joins your loved one in abusing drugs or condones drug use.

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3. Choose a private setting for the intervention. This can be at a friend’s or family member’s home, or even at the addict’s home. Whichever location you choose, make sure that it’s convenient and offers a good deal of privacy.

4. Catch the addict off-guard. An addict should never be aware that an intervention will be taking place. By surprising an addict, you’re giving him or her little chance to make excuses or justify their drug use.

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5. Stay calm and speak with respect. Don’t speak with anger or judgment, since this can make the situation worse. Also, make sure that you make it clear that you care for the addict, but don’t care for their drug use.

6. Make going into treatment easy. Have as much treatment information as possible available, and reserve a spot in a treatment facility if possible. If your loved one also has children, you should make arrangements for them to stay with family members or close friends for the duration of treatment.

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7. Don’t give up. If an addict initially refuses treatment, don’t give up. They may approach you later once they’ve had time to think about it more. The bottom line is you can’t force someone into treatment, but you can be there for them when they’re ready to get clean.

Successful drug intervention questions

Does your loved one need a gentle push into treatment? Are you ready to stage an intervention, but not sure how? If you’re hoping for a success drug intervention, questions are only natural. You can leave any of your questions and concerns about drug interventions in the comments section below, and we’ll be happy to address each one.

Reference Sources: AIR: Interventions for Drug Addiction
Drug Addicted: What You Need To Know About Staging an Intervention
4therapy.com: Choosing an Interventionist
NCADD: Intervention -Tips and Guidelines
Michael’s House: Drug Intervention Tips
AARP: How to Stage an Intervention
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. I am a nurse living with addiction.
    I have been stealing drugs from patients and taking them.
    It wasn’t much at first, but it has cot me my marriage and recently I was put under investigation buy the Ohio Nursing board but not enough evidence was found for them to fire me.
    I need help out of network as if they find out, I will be fired and lose my respiratory licenses.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Rhonda. Call the helpline you see on the website to get in touch with a trusted treatment consultant who can help you find the best rehab for you.

  2. Thanks for this article. It was really helpful, especially the part about how you must tell the addict to enter substance abuse treatment or face consequences. My brother has been addicted to opioids for at least four years, and it’s starting to affect his relationship with our family. Maybe if I tell him that he won’t be able to see his niece and nephew anymore, he’ll be more willing to go to treatment.

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