In 2017, drugs were the leading cause of death in those under the age of 50.
As of 2019, an average of 130 people dies every day from an opioid overdose.
If someone you love has a problem with drugs, a drug addiction intervention may seem like the way to go alleviate the issue. And while it can work, it needs to be something done delicately.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to go about a drug addiction intervention to give your loved one the best chance of recovery.
1. Identify the Issue
If you think someone you love has a drug addiction, identify the issue. What drug do you believe they’re using? What is the reasoning behind your belief that they’re using?
Be aware that drug addiction can look like many things and take many forms. People who look very ill may not actually be abusing drugs and could be ill in their own right. Individuals who look well and are able to function in their day-to-day lives may have a drug dependency issue you’re not aware of.
If you have a suspicion that someone is using, try and ensure you know this is the case before springing it on them. This can include speaking to family members and friends and discussing the individual’s behavior and habits.
2. Speak to the Person First
Do not hold an intervention if you’ve never spoken to the individual about their drug problem. You cannot ambush someone with your suspicions without speaking to them first. This can cause them to distrust you or feel as though you’re going behind their back.
If you’re afraid the person is using, ask them if you feel comfortable. You may point out some of the habits they have that point you toward believing that they do use drugs.
If the individual is self-aware, they may decide to get help on their own, or may already be in treatment. Or, they’re possibly working out a treatment plan on their own.
It’s a good idea to understand the individual’s relationship with drugs and their awareness of their use before jumping on board with an intervention.
3. Speak to Family and Friends
Although we already spoke about discussing the issue with family and friends, you’ll want to then discuss the possibility of an intervention with the person’s family and friends.
Typically, you do not hold an intervention with only one or two people, as this can be less effective. The more people you can gather to show that the drug use has a lasting effect on your lives the better.
If family and friends agree that they would like to help you with an intervention, you’ll need to make a plan to go forward together. In this situation, you all need to be on the same team and on the same page. You don’t want people at the intervention who are not sure if they should be meddling, or who don’t feel an intervention is appropriate.
4. Hire a Professional Interventionist or Consultant
Even if someone close to the individual is a professional psychologist or specializes in drug rehab, it is important that you have a third-party help you form a plan.
A professional interventionist or consultant can help you decide what you’ll say and do at the intervention. They can then help you be the most effective possible so that you have a higher chance of getting the person to go to rehab or seek help.
Hiring a professional can also help put the situation in perspective. As those affected by the drug problem, you may not be able to see everything for what it is. A third-party can have a look at the dynamics of the group and the family and discuss the most helpful approach for the intervention.
5. Have a Plan for the Intervention
After you’ve spoken to an interventionist, you’ll need to gather your team together. From there, you’ll decide the day and time you’ll hold the intervention and how you’ll get the person to the appointed location at the correct time.
Your interventionist can help you write out a plan for the intervention itself, but many of them follow similar orders.
6. Have a Rehab Facility or Two Picked Out for the Drug Addiction Intervention
The Discovery House recommends that you have a comfortable rehab facility on hand for the individual, especially one that offers same-day admittance. You may have more than one picked out, but you’ll need to be sure they can take the person immediately.
Do your research on rehab facilities. If the person has been to one already in the past that didn’t work, discuss together as a team why the approach ended up failing. You’ll want to pick a different approach this time around.
A facility that can take the person immediately is important, as you may want the individual to leave as soon as you’re finished with the intervention. This is a very effective way to get them into treatment, as they have only recently heard how their addiction has impacted you.
7. Write Impact Statements for Your Loved One
Each person at the intervention should be someone who loves the individual deeply. They should be people who care about seeing him or her get well and have a vested interest in them. That’s what makes impact statements so powerful.
You should have each person present write a statement about how drug use has changed the individual and their relationship. Do they no longer speak? Do they see the person fading before their eyes? Do they remember someone who was once vibrant and ready to tackle their dreams who has now started to fade away?
Or, do they miss the person they once were and feel their relationships have suffered due to drug use?
No matter how the person feels, it is important that they get across how the drug use has impacted them. While some people who take drugs may feel they are only hurting themselves, it is important to show them they are hurting many people around them.
8. Accept the Person May Not Agree to Treatment
Unless the individual is under the age of 18, you cannot force someone to attend drug rehab. They are adults, and at the end of the day, you cannot force them to attend a program. If there is a concern they could harm themselves or someone else, you can take them to a psychiatric hospital for a temporary hold until further evaluations can happen.
Aside from that, there is nothing you can do to strong-arm someone into going to rehab. As such, your loved one may say that they don’t need rehab, despite their obvious drug problems.
You and your intervention team will need to understand that this is a possibility and you must accept it if it does happen. While it may be a disappointing outcome, recognize it is possible.
9. Let the Person Know How Your Relationship Will Change If They Do Not Get Help
In your impact statement, you should let the individual know how your relationship will change if they do not receive help. While you should let them know you’ll be there for them if they do decide to accept help and attend rehab, they should be aware that you will not enable their addiction.
If you are a parent, this may include no longer giving them money. It may include asking them to find another place to live so that they are no longer using in your home.
As a friend, you may tell them you will no longer bail them out of tough spots because of their drug use. You may even wish to cease the relationship entirely until they’re able to get the full scope of help they need.
This can be a powerful way to make someone reconsider the impact of their drug use on others.
Staging a Drug Addiction Intervention
A drug addiction intervention rarely works the way it does in the movies. In real life, things are complicated and scary. Your loved one may not be grateful to you for arranging the intervention, and in fact, may resent you.
You need to prepare yourself that this could be the case, but you’re still giving them the gift of a second chance at life. Recovering from an addiction is never easy, but if you’re there to support your loved one, they have a much better chance.
Be sure to check out our lifestyle section for more posts about how to improve yourself and your relationship to those around you.