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Hold an Intervention for Prescription Drugs

When it’s clear a loved one is addicted to prescription drugs there are three choices: stand by and let it happen, walk away or confront the person. Considering the real dangers of addiction, the best choice is to reach out and encourage the person to get help.

Importance of Addiction Treatment

Thanks to decades worth of scientific research, addiction treatments are more effective than ever.Addiction specialists have more and better tools for treating the disease, but many people still go without the care they need. Letting an addiction go untreated is both risky and harmful. The longer an addiction goes on, the more serious it becomes. Plus, people addicted to opiate-based prescription pain relievers often switch to heroin and begin injecting the drug. People who inject drugs are at higher risk of developing HIV/AIDS, hepatitis B and C and other infectious diseases. They also are at risk of overdosing on the drug, because versions on the street are impure and may be stronger than expected.[1]

Only around 11 percent of the people who need addiction treatment get it. Prescription pain reliever abuse is particularly serious, with 2 million people addicted to the drugs.[2] The opiate-based drugs are highly addictive. To treat an opiate addiction, patients need to go through detoxification followed by several forms of talk therapy. Some patients also may benefit from medications, such as methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone, to manage withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings.1

Getting Someone Into Treatment

Addiction is a powerful disease. Since it’s chronic, similar to diabetes or asthma, patients must learn strategies for managing it over a lifetime. The disease requires specialized treatment because of the way drugs change the brain. Once a person’s brain is flooded with the chemical signals brought on by high doses of opiates, it’s difficult for a person to feel happiness or even normal without the drug. The drug cravings supersede a person’s loyalty to family or friends and make them more likely to lie or manipulate the people around them. While someone is actively using, it is challenging for him to understand the consequences of his actions.[3]

An intervention gives an addicted person the chance to see the connection between his drug use and the problems in his life. Professional interventions rarely look like the confrontational episodes seen on television shows. A well-planned and organized intervention is non-judgmental and helps a person see he has a problem.

At the end of an intervention, it’s important for the addict to agree to treatment and have a place to get care. The Canyon offers intervention services and provides families with a professional interventionist to stage and run the meeting.

The Basics

Alcohol and Drug Interventions

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An intervention gives family and friends a structured way to confront a loved one about prescription drug use. The most well known type of intervention is the Johnson model. Using clear and detailed language, participants must explain how drug use hurts the person with an addiction and must offer examples of how drug use damages the relationships and lives of everyone in the room. A professional intervention is planned and works best when an interventionist moderates the meeting and reminds people to keep their statements clear and avoid unnecessary emotion. Participants also must explain what they will do if the addict does not get help. There must be defined consequences from everyone in the room.[4]

Another style of intervention is the Family Systemic Model. This intervention also is planned carefully, but family members hold several meetings before confronting the addict in a final meeting. This style also includes a professional interventionist and consequences for not seeking treatment. Family members seek therapy with and without the addict as a way to ensure he is fully supported. Family interventions are especially important for adolescents.[5]

All interventions conclude after everyone explains the impact of drug use. At the end, the addict must choose to enter addiction treatment immediately or face the outlined consequences.

Who To Invite

The people invited to an intervention should be people who are close to the addict. The list may include immediate family members, close friends and colleagues, members of the clergy or other leaders who are important to the addict. Friends who are using or who have a problem with alcohol or other drugs are not good candidates.

What to Say

Keep it short. Keep it nonjudgmental. Be specific, choosing an incident that was hurtful and brought on by addiction. Participants should speak out of love and with the goal of getting help for their loved one. Highly confrontational and angry sessions are not productive. Through the intervention, the addict should understand the consequences of her behavior. By understanding the situation, she may think about changing.

Rehab at The Canyon

At The Canyon, we provide comprehensive prescription drug treatment. If you and your family need an intervention for your loved one, we can offer guidance and preparation. We have professional interventionists available who can come to your home, help you set up the event and even run it for you. They also may accompany your loved one to The Canyon when it’s over.

If you have any questions about a prescription drug addiction intervention or our prescription drug addiction rehab, contact us at The Canyon today at 424-387-3118.


[1] National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction. Retrieved Feb. 6, 2017 from

[2] Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. (2016). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Retrieved Feb. 6, 2017 from

[3] NIDA. (2016). Understanding Drug Use and Addiction. Retrieved Feb. 6, 2017 from

[4] Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014). Intervention: Help a Loved One Overcome Addiction. Retrieved Feb. 6, 2017 from

[5] Association of Intervention Specialists. (2012). What is the Family Systemic Model? Retrieved Feb. 6, 2017 from