How to do a drug intervention

To do a drug intervention, you need to plan who will participate, where and when it will take place, as well as what to say. A thorough guide on drug interventions here.

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What to expect from a drug intervention

It can be difficult to know what to expect from a drug intervention. If everything goes well, an intervention will result in an addict seeking treatment for his or her drug abuse problem. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Anyone who is planning a drug intervention should – as the old saying goes – hope for the best and plan for the worst. Some addicts simply aren’t ready to seek treatment or may not even believe that they have a problem.

Every addict’s reaction to a drug intervention is different, and you should prepare yourself for all of these reactions. Some addicts will display obvious emotions, ranging from despair to resentment to outright anger. Other addicts, on the other hand, may remain stoic and receptive during the process, and may even agree to seek treatment without argument.

Drug intervention steps

There are several distinct drug intervention steps that should be followed by anyone who wants to stage an intervention.

Step 1: Planning. The first of the drug intervention steps is planning. This step should not be overlooked, and anyone planning a drug intervention should strongly consider seeking help from a drug intervention specialist. These professionals are able to prepare loved ones for this emotional process and help the addict when he or she is ready to seek treatment.

Step 2: Doing. The actual intervention is the next step. During the intervention, an addict will be confronted in a respectful manner by loved ones who care about them. These loved ones will then attempt to convince the addict to seek treatment. If the addict does not agree, loved ones should be prepared to initiate some “tough love”.

Step 3: Follow through. You may not be able to force the addict into treatment. You can, however, enforce boundaries and consequences with a loved one addicted to drugs.  You can remove financial, emotional, or housing support until he or she is ready to seek help. You might even refuse to include them in family activities until they seek help. Whatever you decide, follow through.

Planning a drug intervention

When planning a drug intervention, an intervention specialist can be an invaluable resource. These professionals are knowledgeable about addiction and will help loved ones through every step of the intervention.

1. Define what will happen. The first step when planning a drug intervention is usually deciding the basics of what will happen during the process. This includes such things as who will participate in the intervention, where it will take place, when it will take place, and how long the intervention will last. Ideally, an intervention should take place with a group of individuals that an addict loves and respects, in a place the addict feels comfortable, and at a time the addict is sober and unsuspecting.

2. Plan or write down what you will say. An intervention specialist can also help loved ones decide what to say and how to say it during an intervention. This should include facts about their drug use and how it has affected themselves and their loved ones.

3. Decide on a course of action.  Finally, loved ones should decide on a course of action based on the addict’s decision of whether to seek treatment or not. If an addict is compliant, they should be ready to present information on drug addiction recovery and the intervention specialist should be ready with referrals to treatment programs. If the addict refuses treatment, however, loved ones should be ready and willing to present an ultimatum or consequences. For example, either the addict seeks treatment, or the loved ones will remove certain types of support, such as emotional support or financial support.

Does a drug intervention work?

It can be hard to tell whether a drug intervention will work or not. Ultimately, the success of a drug intervention will depend on a number of factors, including how to intervention is carried out and the addict’s attitude.

If the intervention is not carried out properly, there’s a good chance it could result in failure. This can occur when a group of loved ones acts more confrontational and emotional rather than supportive and caring.  An intervention might also fail if an addict simply isn’t ready to accept the fact that he or she needs drug addiction treatment. If this is the case, loved ones should be prepared to put an end to their enabling behavior. After some time has passed, another drug intervention may be more successful.

Drug intervention questions

If your loved one is addicted to drugs, an intervention may be the solution. However, this process can be frightening and confusing, and having drug intervention questions is completely natural. Fortunately, we’re here to help you and your loved one every step of the way.

If you need answers or guidance, leave your questions and concerns in the comments section below. We look forward to helping you get started in the right direction.

Reference Sources: MAYO Clinic: Intervention: Help a loved one overcome addiction
Michael’s House: Drug Intervention Tips
The Partnership at Drug Free: Do you think — or know — that your child is using drugs or alcohol?
Michael’s House: How to Stage a Drug Addiction Intervention, Part
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. please help my daughter. She has been crying out for help for to long,She has a 10 year old daughter and will loose her due to her addiction or she will die !! she has no insurance but gets state help for food..I have cancer and she lives with me but she wants help now please help us please please there has to be help!!

  2. I have an adult daughter severly addicted ti iv use of herion,,,recently lost her boyfriend/husband she refers to him,,he lost limbs due to this addicition and ultimally his life about 2 months ago,,she has two daughters there no longer in her ccustody ones in foster care and the oyher is in biological care of her natural father,,has sists that will not heal because she wont stay in the hospital they decline her detox until there healead,,,recently the home caught on fire still under investigating,,,came to me which im a care taker of my father that’s llast stages of copd,,so allowed to stay 2 days until court so I could take her in the mean time broke out of the house stole my/ grandpas truck dirty needle found in it while I was driving when I woke up in the am there was one needle used and emptied and one still full ,,,so I called the police and went onto my own dr app…upon return grampa said aww it wasn’t to bad but you can see its crushing him as well as me being her mother,,,so she returned a few days ago and same story court couple of days no where to go etc…so grampa said yes and I laid the rules only till your court then its to the hospital/or detox NOT back here,,well here she comes after court ,,long story short I said no you can NOT stay here ,,told you that from the beginning ,,the herion addiciticon is jus to much!!!! and her grandfather don’t need that on top all the health issues we deal with here,,as any and all we worry for her LOVE,CARE AND PRAY for her but jus cant help her she wont help her self her body is jus w.o.w. a mess uslcers track marks 23 yrs old and has a I believe its a pic line in her its under the skin cause she has no veins,,on top of that I do believe shes also pregent sooo scared for her and all the children the two living and the un born,,,lost ,scared worried but I feel theres nothing I can do to help her till she helps herself which dosent seem to be happening at all,,,please somebody help before I have to bury her,,i feel like her death is around the corner and she jus says oh mom I wont die ,,,mothers know and I can feel it im my guts of guts and heart of heart,,,,a mothers love,prayer im allways in,,plz help don’t no what to do ,,scared for lives,,,,thank you,,god bless….

    1. Hi, Nancy. I could say that you’re in very difficult situation. I’m really sorry that you’re experiencing a really hard time with your daughter. You may check out Allies in Recovery: , an NGO that works with families to intervene with problem addicts using the CRAFT intervention model. You’ll have to do some reading and get yourself familiar with the style.
      Also, here is a list of suggested reading readings:

      Hope this will help!

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