8 Facts & Myths About Substance Abuse Interventions

Heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine are the three most addictive substances in the country. Substance abuse tears apart thousands of families every year. Substance abuse interventions are one of the most well-known tactics for helping loved ones end their battle with drug or alcohol dependency. When the topic of interventions comes up, many people think of the way they are represented on television in reality shows and primetime dramas. However, substance abuse interventions are more complicated than you might think. There are many myths surrounding the act of staging an intervention for someone, whether they are family, friend, or even just someone you know. Read on to learn more about the myths and facts about substance abuse interventions and uncover the truth.

8 Active Myths | Suggest a Myth
MYTH: Street drugs are the only drugs that affect families.

This one is not true at all. In fact, in the past year, the National Institute of Health estimates that 2.4 million people abused prescription drugs for the first time, which is an average of almost 7,000 people per day. The statistics for how many people routinely abuse prescription drugs is even higher than that.

FACT: Interventions are only the first step to recovery.

While interventions are great for uniting the family or community and showing someone that you genuinely care about their well-being, it is only the first step to recovery. The person who is in the throes of substance abuse must agree to continue their journey either through inpatient treatment (like rehab) or at least through outpatient counseling. 

MYTH: Interventions are humiliating.

Interventions may seem like they'd be humiliating for the person who needs the help, but more importantly, they are a way to show the person you care about their health and well-being. Even if the person feel humiliated at the time, once they have reached sobriety they will feel grateful that someone stepped in on their behalf.

FACT: Interventions can be dangerous.

Some people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol may feel defensive when confronted about their substance abuse. The danger is especially great if you plan an intervention and the person is under the influence or under the effects of withdrawal when you stage it. You should always take precautions to ensure the safety of not only yourselves but the substance user as well.

FACT: Interventions are very emotional for everyone involved.

Not only are you staging an intervention for someone who is in the throes of a mental and physical health crisis known as addiction, you are admitting to yourself that you need this person in your life to get some help that you cannot provide. Interventions are incredibly emotional situations for everyone. Many tears will be shed. You should prepare yourself accordingly for the emotional exhaustion that will follow.

MYTH: Interventions are a cure for substance abuse.

Interventions can't cure you or anyone else of addiction. Addiction is a complicated health crisis that requires medical and psychological help if they have any chance of success. An intervention is merely the unification of one or more people approaching the substance user with their concerns.

FACT: Interventions take careful planning.

Planning an intervention involves more than just calling a group of friends. It requires a safe space where you won't be interrupted, plenty of time to address all concerns, and a place for the substance user to go if and when they agree to seek help for their addiction. You also need to account for what to do if they refuse.

MYTH: You have to hire a professional to stage the intervention.

This one is a myth, but it should be said that it can't hurt to hire a substance abuse counselor to assist you. Interventions are incredibly personal events that can be increasingly volatile the longer it lasts. Therefore, while it is not required of you to hire someone to assist you, it may be a good idea to get some help.