Drug Interventions

Drug interventions show your loved one that their behavior is a serious problem and they need to accept help and change their life for the better.

What is a Drug Intervention? 

An intervention is a meeting to discuss your loved one’s negative behavior due to the use of drugs. During the intervention, you and your team members express the need for change in that behavior. 

Drug interventions show your loved one that their behavior is a serious problem and they need to accept help and change their life for the better. 

There are certain parts that must be integrated into your intervention to ensure that it runs smoothly. Interventions are extremely emotional situations and have every opportunity to turn hostile. 

It’s best to follow the steps and do everything possible to keep the intervention as calm and supportive as possible. 

Do Interventions Work?

Yes! Holding an intervention is the most likely step to take if your loved one needs treatment.  Most interventionist success ratings are in between 80-90 percent. Intervention – What is the Success Rate? – AIS 

Since the end goal of intervention is treatment, all the steps help explain to your loved one that they have a problem and they need professional help. Sometimes this doesn’t work — your loved one may not accept this reality. But this doesn’t mean the intervention didn’t work. 

These meetings don’t just work for your loved one – they work for you too. Because you’re living with the addiction as well, interventions focus on your family: how the addiction has been affected by your family dynamic and how your family has been affected by the addiction. 

Interventions work on educating everyone on how to see the signs of addiction, how to deal with the trauma, and how to help your loved one the best way you can without fueling the addiction further. 

You can read more about this under “Services.”

How do I Know When it’s Time for an Intervention?

Below are some of the signs of drug abuse. Please note that these aren’t all. If your loved one is showing multiple signs, please call your doctor or a drug abuse hotline. It’s time for an intervention. 

They’ve become dependent on the substance

Your loved one must  have the drugs to accomplish anything throughout their day: go shopping, go to work, clean, talk to family members, etc. They believe that they can’t function without them.

There are problems with people or with their job as a result of the drug use

The drugs are causing issues with family members, friends, and their job. They’re affecting the way they act and speak, and are changing them into a different person. 

They don’t see any problems

Your loved one may think you’re crazy for believing the drugs are changing them and are causing problems. They may believe that they need the drugs to help them get through everyday life.

They don’t listen to anyone 

They silence anyone who starts to mention the issues the drugs might be causing, and won’t hear of “laying off” for a while. If this type of informal talk isn’t working, it’s time for a formal intervention.

Getting the drug is their main priority

They are no longer interested in the sport they’ve played for x-amount of years or the hobby they’ve loved since they were a kid. Their only concern and priority is getting their next fix and having enough money to do so. 

They have a higher tolerance

If you notice that your loved one is taking more and more drugs, this is a sign that their tolerance is getting higher. The more of a substance that they take, the higher their tolerance gets and the more they need to take to reach the same level of euphoria they once had. 

Mental health issues get worse

If your loved one has a pre-existing mental health issue, you may notice that it’s getting worse. Controlled substances have a way of affecting the brain and aggravating existing problems.

They’ve tried to quit on their own but failed

This is a positive sign. They realize that they have an issue: they can’t stay off the substance by themselves and need the support of their loved ones. Because they have failed and started using again, it’s time to call a formal intervention, but stay positive and supportive.

How is an Intervention Performed?

The plan

If you’re planning an intervention, preparation is essential. Every aspect of the day needs to be thought through so there are no surprises. You may want to consider seeking out an interventionist to help you plan and execute the intervention. 

This is a difficult and emotional time. Understand that your loved one is under an extreme amount of stress, as are you and the rest of the members. It’s important to keep feelings and emotions under control and to stay supportive. Remember that the intervention is the first step – entering and finishing treatment is the main goal.

The team members 

The people who support you during this time are very important to both your loved one’s healing and your own. Team members can be family members or close friends, members from your church, or coworkers in extreme cases.

It’s important that the people you choose are supportive and loving, have something of substance to add to the intervention, and don’t delay or block  your loved one’s progress.

Do research 

Be as educated as possible about the addiction. Research possible treatment programs with your intervention team members and make sure they all know the possible reasons for using, the side effects, and the treatments. 

Come up with a treatment plan for your loved one as well. Having a plan in place for the intervention is very important because it shows your loved one that you’re serious. If they accept, it’s all set up. You can also search for support groups for yourself and your loved one.

The message

The overall message should be one of support and understanding. Ensure your loved one that you support them and want what’s best for them but that their decisions are hurting everyone, not just themselves. Point out specific examples, if you can, of a time when they lied, or used your money, or when they put you or your children in danger because of their addiction. 

It’s important to separate the person from the addiction. Remind yourself, your team members, and your loved one that the addiction doesn’t make the person. The choices that were made can be fixed. 

Forgiveness is key during this time. It is not the time to bring up old sores and to blame your loved one for their past choices and actions. They most likely feel deeply ashamed for their behavior and need you to forgive and help them move to the next step.

Choose Consequences

Consequences are very important for an intervention. They give you more control in a situation where you may not feel like you have had any in a long time. It also gives your loved one a wake-up call and shows them that you’re serious about them getting help. The tricky part is delivering the consequences. 

During the intervention, you can provide the treatment plan: “here is our treatment plan ___. We need you to get help, and If you don’t, we’ll need you to (move out) until you’re ready to get treatment. Moving out is a common example of a consequence that many families use for a loved one who refuses to get help. Each team member needs to have a consequence.

Pick a Location

Choose a neutral location where you can bring your loved one or where they can meet you. The location needs to be a place where they don’t feel oppressed or judged and where everyone can talk equally and amicably.


Rehearse the intervention the day before. Make sure everyone knows where they’re going to sit, what they’re going to say, when they’re going to say it, etc. Everything needs to run smoothly the day of.

Follow up

Make sure to follow up with your loved one. Be supportive and present for them. If they accept treatment, be aware of the difficulty and try to make life easier on them. Take away the stresses that would make them use, and replace it with a hobby such as biking, hiking, painting, etc. 

Know the risks

Interventions are emotionally high situations and don’t always work out the way families want them to. Loved ones often refuse treatment, or get hostile with the team that is doing the intervention. Please know that interventions go both ways. They can help you and they can help your loved one. If it doesn’t help your loved one, it can help you. 

Treatment is also a risk. The end goal of interventions is treatment and many people don’t make it all the way through. If your loved one doesn’t make it through the treatment, it doesn’t mean the treatment isn’t for them or the intervention didn’t work. You and your loved one can always try again, and if the problem persists, you should.

What about Cost and Services?


Drug interventions can be expensive. If you’re looking for professional help from a licensed and trained professional, they can cost anywhere from $1,500 – $10,000. However, interventionists on the higher end of the scale are less common. The average price range for a professional interventionist is usually between $3,000-$5,000. How Much Does an Intervention Cost?

This is a steep price. However, you’re not paying for someone to come in and host a meeting. You’re paying for a licensed professional to meet with you, your family, and your loved one who’s in need of treatment. The professional interventionist will help you plan the meeting, make a treatment plan, host the meeting as the mediator, and will keep the treatment plan on track. 

They will also help sort out your family dynamic. Since addiction of any sort is fueled by many different sources of stress in a person’s life, the interventionist will take a deep look into your family’s life. They will help your family deal with any trauma or stress caused by the addiction, educate everyone on the addiction and how certain actions add to the stress, and teach everyone how to lower the stress and in turn lower the probability of drug use. 

Avoid “cheap deals”

Interventions who claim to offer a “cheap deal” are probably not the real deal. Interventionists take years to study, earn licensure, and work to do their jobs well. Anyone offering to hold an intervention for you for a “deal” is most likely a scam and you may end up paying more money for less help and support.

Are they covered by insurance?

Unfortunately interventions are not covered by insurance. Insurance companies believe that they are a service mostly directed toward the families of the addicted loved one. 

However, many facilities often work with family members and may add the intervention onto the treatment plan. How Much Does an Intervention Cost?



What should I avoid?

Avoid becoming overly emotional, upset, judgemental or shaming your loved one during the intervention. It’s important for them to know and feel like you have put their past behaviors behind you and are supporting them now in getting treatment. 

Avoid inviting people who are struggling with drug addiction themselves or who are not supportive of you or your loved one. 

Avoid “cheap deals.” You may end up paying for more than you would have if you hired a professional interventionist. 

What should I do before and during?

Plan everything out the day before the intervention. Research the addiction and learn everything you can to help your loved one. 

Keep calm and supportive. Stay firm in your decisions and consequences, and insist that you are doing this not to hurt but to help.

What if my loved one refuses treatment?

Realistically, this could happen. Reiterate the consequences of them refusing treatment. If they still refuse, put that consequence into practice. Call a hotline and encourage your loved one to go to support groups.

How can I ensure that it will work?

Be calm and supportive, yet firm and decisive. This is an important time in everyone’s lives and it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Let your loved one know that you’re doing this out of love. 

What can I do to ensure that the intervention sticks? 

You can ensure that your loved one makes it through the intervention and treatment successfully by being supportive and positive throughout the process. One of the reasons many people quit treatment programs is because of the lack of support and positive influence in their lives outside of the program. 

Final thoughts

Your loved one is going through a rough time, and you are as well. Be patient and supportive, and to learn as much as you can about their addiction. Remind your loved one that their addiction doesn’t only hurt themselves but also affects others around them. 

Make sure that they’re aware of the consequences you have chosen.

Be honest and forthcoming during the intervention and remember that they are always successful as long as everyone involved is 100% dedicated to recovery. 


Patterson, Eric, MSCP, NCC, LPC. Drug Intervention Programs, Specialists, Services & Strategies. American Addiction Centers. 2020.

Tackett, Brittany, MA. Planning an Intervention? 5 Things You Need to Know. American Addiction Centers. 2020.

10 Tips on Holding an Intervention. Foundations Recovery Network. 2020.

Juergens, Jeffery & David Hampton. Staging an Intervention: Helping Addicts Make a Change. AddictionCenter. 2020.

How Much Does A Drug And/Or Alcohol Intervention Cost?. RehabCenter. 2019.

How Much Does an Intervention Cost?. Drug Rehab Answers. 2020.

Premazon. Intervention – What is the Success Rate? – AIS. Association of Intervention Specialists. 2019. 

Patterson, Eric, MSCP, NCC, LPC. 5 Signs You Need Rehab Now | Find Addiction Treatment Help. American Addiction Centers. 2020.

Drug Abuse Statistics. National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics. 2019.

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