Home / Resources / Blog / Intervention for Drug Addiction

Intervention for Drug Addiction


An addiction to drugs or alcohol is not a weakness – it’s an illness. The first step in helping a loved one who suffers from this illness is making the decision to intervene. A substance abuse disorder is not something that goes away on its own, and ignoring it can have devastating consequences. 

What is an intervention?

An intervention is an organized event to confront a person with an addiction about how their alcohol or drug use has impacted everyone around them. It provides family members and friends an opportunity to express, in their own words, how the addiction’s destructive behaviors have personally affected their lives. An intervention is a carefully planned process and is best performed when working with a mental health professional, such as an intervention specialist.

How does an intervention work?

An intervention has many components that must be carefully considered. As it can be volatile and emotional, it’s best to work with a qualified intervention specialist to help you organize it. 

An effective intervention includes these steps:

  • The intervention team members determine the scale of the addiction. Depending on the severity of the substance abuse, you may need to arrange membership in a support group or secure placement in a treatment center prior to the intervention.
  • Team members set a date, time, and location and work together to present a consistent, rehearsed message and a structured plan.
  • If your loved one doesn’t accept treatment, each person needs to decide what action they’ll take if the loved one doesn’t accept treatment. Each member must be prepared to follow through on these actions.
  • Each member prepares a statement that includes specific incidents when the addiction caused pain or distress. 
  • Without revealing the true purpose of the gathering, your loved one is asked to go to the intervention site. Upon arrival, members then take turns sharing their concerns and feelings. Your loved one is offered a treatment option and asked to accept that option on the spot. Each team member expresses what specific changes they’ll make if treatment is rejected. 

Types of interventions for substance abuse

There are four types of interventions: Simple Intervention, Classic Intervention, Family System Intervention, and Crisis Intervention.

A professional interventionist can help you determine the appropriate type based on the severity of the addiction and your loved one’s needs.

What is a professional intervention?

Working with a professional interventionist can help you organize a formal intervention. They will advise the best approach and help you determine the appropriate treatment and follow-up plan. 

It’s highly advised to include a qualified interventionist at the intervention if your loved one has a history of:

  • mental illness
  • violent behavior
  • attempted suicide or suicide ideation
  • taking mood-altering substances

What is the success rate of intervention?

According to data reported by the Association of Intervention Specialists, interventions have an 80 – 90% success rate. At least eight in ten people choose treatment following an intervention. Of the 10 – 20% who don’t accept treatment immediately following the intervention, approximately 50% begin an addiction recovery program within a couple of weeks.

When is it too late for an intervention?

It’s never too late for an intervention. It’s never too late for your loved one to experience the freedom from addiction. However, it’s crucial to recognize the importance of early intervention. When implemented effectively, early intervention can stop addictive behaviors in their first stages before they develop into a significant substance abuse disorder.

How do you determine if an intervention is successful?

The intervention process requires careful preparation and collaboration with the family members and friends who’ve agreed to attend. The most successful interventions occur when an intervention specialist provides the framework for this emotionally charged event. Keep in mind, if your loved one doesn’t choose to seek treatment after the intervention, it doesn’t mean the intervention wasn’t successful. Your time, effort, vulnerability, and support will show your loved one how much you care. Even if you don’t see an immediate change, you’ve planted a seed of hope.

How long should an intervention session last?

Interventions typically last between 30 to 90 minutes, but there’s no set time period. The duration of the event depends on how many team members attend, the amount of time it takes for each member to express their feelings and concerns, and your loved one’s interaction with members at the intervention. 

When is intervention most effective?

Intervention is most effective when drug or alcohol abuse is addressed in the early stages. As soon as you see the warning signs of substance abuse with your loved one, it’s imperative you seek advice from an intervention professional to discuss treatment options and intervention strategies. 

Interventions for Drug Addiction at Into Action Recovery

We provide intervention services for drug addiction at Into Action Recovery. If you or a loved one needs help overcoming drug or alcohol addiction, we’re here to get you started on your journey to life-long sobriety and recovery. 

Call us today at 844-303-3969 to schedule an appointment or learn more about our programs.

You Might Also Like: