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Drug Intervention: What Not To Do

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Although it is often a difficult decision to make, holding a drug intervention is one of the most important things you can do for someone with a drug problem. However, it can be a challenge to know what to say and how to act during a drug intervention.

Even when a professional interventionist is present, it’s important to avoid these common mistakes:

1. Do not hold an intervention without a professional.

Family interventionA professional interventionist should always be contacted before moving forward. She has valuable experience during this challenging situation and can make sure the environment is kept safe. In addition, the interventionist can ensure that the conversation remains productive.

2. Do not yell or scream.

It is understandable that you are very emotional. However, you want to maintain a gentle, supportive tone of voice during an intervention. Everyone present at the intervention should communicate without anger or passing judgment on the individual. This is why many interventionists will tell you to write a letter in advance and to read it out loud. This approach will often help you express yourself clearly without anger.

3. Do not all speak at the same time.

Everyone generally wants a chance to speak up at an intervention. However, when several people talk at the same time, it will only serve to muddle the message and intimidate the individual in question. In many cases, the interventionist will elect a single “mouth piece” for the event and try to have that person do most of the talking during the intervention.

4. Do not act vindictively or in a confrontational manner.

The object of the intervention is to confront a problem, not a person. Those who attend an intervention have been hurt by the drug addict or had their trust violated should not use this opportunity to lash out at the individual for past transgressions.

5. Don’t give up after one try.

Many drug interventions don’t work on the first try. Drug addiction often drives the individual deep into denial about their problem. Pulling them out of that state of mind can sometimes take several attempts. Consider that drug addiction is a brain disease because drugs change the structure of the brain and how it works.1 Again, don’t give up. Keep doing all that you can to help your loved one. The key focus of an intervention is to get your loved one into treatment right after the intervention.2

That’s where Michael’s House can help. We can help make the entire process as seamless as possible.

For anyone who is struggling with a drug problem, Michael’s House is here for you. Our residential drug treatment programs at Michael’s House provide individuals and their families with a chance to defeat drug addiction and rebuild their lives from the ground up. Please don’t wait another day. We’re ready to help.


1Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. July 2014.

2Intervention: Help A Loved One Overcome Addiction.” MayoClinic. 20 July 2017.