Information on Substance Abuse Interventions

Last updated: 12 August 2022

Intervention can be a lifesaving tool to get someone into a drug rehab. Drug rehabs and professional interventionists are available to organize an intervention. To help, Addicted.org has compiled a directory of interventionists. We want families to know this is a successful option because it convinces the addict they need help. Families can finally regain control, set clear boundaries, and get the help their loved one needs.

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How can an intervention help?

      • A family intervention is a carefully planned process and is organized with the help of a certified intervention specialist.
      • It provides a black and white scenario of offering help or facing the consequences.
      • Family intervention sets clear boundaries and guidelines.
      • With the help of a certified interventionist, success is relatively high.

Interventions are carefully planned and, with the right help, are successful. However, there is a common misconception that intervention is only done as a last resort, and this is not true. Early intervention is crucial because it prevents an addiction from spiraling out of control. An intervention could be done at any time, and with the help of a certified interventionist, they are successful.

How to plan an intervention?

A typical intervention involves specific steps and a process that is best done with a certified professional. However, are steps that families can take to perform an intervention:

Step One—Make a Plan

A family member or friend should propose an intervention. Generally, everyone should consider hiring or consulting with a professional, yet this is not always possible.

Everyone involved should gather information and learn about the extent of addiction. It is vital to have some understanding of how bad the addiction is and what is occurring.

Once the family or friends have an understanding of the severity of the addiction, the next involves forming an intervention team.

Step Two—Form the Intervention Team

The intervention team should be made of people who are not antagonistic towards the addict. In addition, these are individuals who are not enabling the addict or making it possible for them to abuse drugs or alcohol. Finally, there should be one individual whom the addict respects and listens to.

Step Three—Plan What is to be Said and Rehearse It

Everyone participating in the intervention should have a script or an impact statement. During an intervention, emotions run high. It is most effective if each person writes a letter to the addict to read during the intervention.

Letters allow communication to flow without anger and placing blame. Overall, it demonstrates two things—How the addict has impacted your life with their addiction and what they were like before their addiction.

Step Four—Set a Date, Time, and Location

The time to perform an intervention is when the individual is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, this is not always possible, and it should be coordinated accordingly. The location should be a place the person is not familiar with and cannot find a way to walk away from easily.

Step Five—Perform the Intervention and Follow Through With Consequences if Needed

Once the day has come to perform the intervention, everyone comes together to do their part. Having a drug rehab center arranged before performing the intervention is vital. Once an intervention is successful, the addict should be brought to treatment right away. If the person refuses to accept help, the family must follow through with consequences, which were decided upon when planning the intervention.

Common intervention types

There are several types of drug and alcohol intervention, which most qualified family interventionists are trained to utilize.

The Johnson Model

This process was created by Vernon Johnson and is the most recognizable form of intervention. This model involves the family and a guided interventionist confronting the individual struggling with an addiction.

The Invitation Model

Also known as Systemic Family Intervention, it was developed by Ed Spear and Wayne Raiter. The process focuses on a family-orientated approach. Everyone involved is invited to a workshop led by an interventionist to discuss how addiction has affected the family.

The Field Model of Intervention

Similar to the Johnson Model, it involves a confrontational approach without the person's prior knowledge.

Common Terminology Surround Family Intervention

Term Definition
Family Intervention this process includes family members to motivate someone to seek help for alcohol or drug misuse and other addictive behaviors.
Enabling this is the behavior taken on by family or friends that delays the moment where the drug-addicted individual is forced to confront the full gravity of their addiction. For example, the family pays for the drug users' rent or bails them out of difficult situations.
Co-dependency is a person belonging to a dysfunctional, one-sided relationship where one person relies on the other for meeting nearly all of their emotional and self-esteem needs. Also, this problem occurs within a relationship that enables another person to maintain their irresponsible addictive behavior.
Substance Abuse Intervention Specialist is a trained and qualified professional who performs family interventions, counsels families, and helps people addicted to drugs or alcohol enter treatment.
Court-Ordered Drug Rehab mandatory treatment is defined as treatment ordered, motivated, or supervised under the criminal justice system, which involves courts or courts associated with DUI offenses.
Motivational Interviewing is an intervention technique that focuses on having a conversation with the addict about help for addiction. The process is designed to encourage them to make positive behavioral changes.
Johnson Model is the most recognizable model of intervention and utilizes the element of surprise where family and friends confront the addicted person with the help of a professional interventionist.
Invitation Model is similar to the Johnson Model, except it does not use the element of surprise. Typically, one friend or family member is asked to speak with the drug-addicted individual.
Field Model combines elements of the Invitation Model and Johnson Model with the professional interventionist working in the field making decisions—it is recommended where an addict has the potential to react in a negative or even violent manner.
Systemic Model is a non-confrontational approach and allows the family and friends to place emphasis on encouraging the drug-addicted individual that they can live without drugs or alcohol.

What's Next?

After an intervention is complete and successful, the next step is arranging drug rehab. Substance use treatment includes detox, long-term drug rehab, short-term residential, or outpatient care. Long-term residential programs are the best option. Yet, every situation is different from the next. The family interventionist aids in helping the family find drug rehab and determine the best approach. The goal is to find the best fit and make an informed decision.

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CONTRIBUTORS TO THIS ARTICLE

Robert “Bobby” Newman, CSAC, ICRC, PCB

Robert “Bobby” Newman, CSAC, ICRC, PCB

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on August 12, 2022

More Information

I grew up in small Oklahoma town and enjoyed a rather nice upbringing. An upbringing that looked good on the outside but had its share of internal "issues". My parents divorced when I was in high school and I took full advantage of that scenario, starting to abuse alcohol at the age of 15. I went to college to play football and started smoking marijuana and was introduced to amphetamines. I went from an 18 year old kid going to college, playing football and chasing girls to fast forwarding 17 years later and looking at 7 years in a federal prison and about $300,000 in legal fines. This was after many years of legal problems and personal struggles and being arrested more times than I can remember. At one point in my life I had four attorneys for four different legal issues in two different states. Not to say that I did not try to do well or this was the life I really wanted. I had attended two different universities and completed a 4 year trade school and was making a good living, or what could have been a good living had it not been for the escalated drug use. After completing a long-term very successful drug rehabilitation program I decided that I wanted to educate kids about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. I had learned things in the rehab program I had never heard before and knew others should know. I am now an Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Internationally Certified Prevention Specialist with IC & RC and a Certified Intervention Professional. I have since educated hundreds of thousands of people in many states about these dangers and helped thousands of people into and through rehabilitation. I have been on the streets working with homeless drug addicts and helped a 23 year old kid overcome his addiction to opiates in my own home. He is still clean ten years later. These experiences have helped me gain the working knowledge and real life experience on how to effectively deal with addicts. Here is my website: https://www.newmaninterventions.com/