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Intervention Strategies for Drug Users

Drug addiction can destroy lives and families when not confronted and addressed properly. However, most families are not equipped to know where to turn or how to handle a situation when a loved one is suffering from an addiction. An effective tool used often to help forge a path to recovery is called an intervention.  Being knowledgeable about various intervention strategies for drug users is beneficial in dealing with addiction aggressively. Drug interventions help stop the cycle of abuse, blame, and enablement.  Working with an addiction professional such as an alcohol and drug abuse counselor, a psychiatrist, or an intervention specialist can help those involved organize an effective intervention.

4 Minute Read | Published Sep 17 2023 | Updated Mar 11 2024 Expert Verified
Emma Collins
Written by
Dameisha Gibson
Reviewed by
Emma Collins
Written by
Dameisha Gibson
Reviewed by

There are superior intervention strategies for drug users – learn more and help save a life

Learning how to do a drug intervention is simple and straightforward. Steps include:

  • Making a plan. Once it is agreed upon that an intervention is necessary, a group is formed and a consultation with a qualified addiction specialist should take place. Because interventions are emotionally charged situations, it is possible that feelings of betrayal, anger, and resentment will surface. Therefore, it is essential that interventions be planned carefully. A qualified addiction professional can educate the group on different substance abuse intervention techniques.
  • Gathering information. Part of learning how to do a drug intervention includes doing research and learning about the extent of the loved one’s addiction. Weighing the effectiveness of different substance abuse intervention techniques will help lay the groundwork in organizing the intervention. Choosing a treatment program beforehand is also necessary.
  • Forming an intervention team. The group that plans the intervention will form a team that will personally participate in the intervention. The team will coordinate a date and location for the intervention. The team will also collaborate on constructing a message and the development of a plan that will be introduced during the intervention. A discussion will take place during the intervention that focuses on the problem, communicates facts as well as a message of support, and introduces a plan that will help the loved one get sober.
  • If the addicted person is not cooperative during the intervention, team members must implement an action of consequence to remove themselves and anyone else directly affected from the situation. These consequences must be followed through with if the addicted person does not accept the option to receive treatment.
  • Preparation. There is no set of instructions for learning how to do a drug intervention, but preparation is always key. Team members are asked to recall specific incidents where the addiction has caused problems, such as emotional, professional, or financial issues in the addicted person’s life. Making notes of these instances will bring the problem to light while also making a point to express concern and positive expectations for recovery. Having a prepared message of support without engaging in argumentative exchanges will provide the most productive outcome.
  • Holding the intervention. After learning about substance abuse intervention techniques and researching intervention strategies for drug users, the team and their addiction specialist will choose the best approach to move forward with. Finally, the intervention will take place. Members of the team will express their concerns and feelings. The loved one is presented with an option for treatment as well as consequences if they do not accept it.

Intervention strategies for drug users are successful when utilized in the careful planning of intervention.  The steps above loosely describe what is known as the Johnson Intervention Model. It is what most people think of when they hear the word intervention. It is confrontational but effective. Other intervention strategies for drug users include:

  • The Invitational Model. This type of intervention is more upfront and honest with the addicted person. It is organized like a workshop that includes an intervention specialist. The addicted person is invited and the intentions of the workshop are made clear beforehand, with no surprise confrontation. The meeting takes place whether or not the addicted person decides to participate.
  • The Field Model. The Field Model is a combination of the Johnson Model and the Invitational model. It offers flexibility and can adapt to any situation that may arise, whether there is a possibility of an outburst, violence, or other negative response. The therapist involved is able to choose the best approach for the current circumstances taking shape during the meeting.
  • Systemic Intervention Model. This intervention model works best in cases where the addicted person may be defensive or react in a hostile manner. During meetings with a therapist, the entire family takes part and contributes thoughts and feelings about the addicted person’s continued substance abuse. Instead of confronting the addicted person and forcing them to admit there is a problem, the focus is about providing positive encouragement to stop using.

Caring loved ones of an addicted person should not be concerned about not knowing how to do a drug intervention.  Professional addiction specialists are available to help those involved decide what the best intervention strategies for drug users will work in each individual case.  The common goal of getting the loved one on the road to recovery is the best first step in the right direction.


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