Substance Abuse Intervention Techniques Explained

Addiction Treatment – Substance Abuse Intervention Techniques Explained

When a person is sick with a treatable disease, they usually seek professional help. In the case of an addict, even though it’s also a disease, people don’t tend to seek help because of how the addiction affects their reasoning and behavior. This can be seen in the SAMSHA report from 2009 showing that of the 23 million addicts only 2.6 million went into rehab for treatment. The difficulty of making the person aware of their problem can be done through substance abuse intervention techniques that help the addict to see the true impact their addiction has on those closest to them.

What is the Purpose of an Intervention?

A drug intervention is orchestrated by one or several people who know and care for the well-being of an addict. Interventions allow people to come together and tell the addict why they need to get help for their addiction by making them aware of some of the negative effects their substance abuse has on themselves and others. The hope is that the addict becomes suddenly aware of how bad the problem is and then becomes open to rehab treatment programs.

An intervention can include just members of the family, friends or co-workers and employers. It can also include intervention specialists to act as mediators during the intervention, providing additional information and ensuring that all of the voices are heard in a non-confrontational way.

Invitational Model

One of the substance abuse intervention techniques is the invitational model. It occurs over a longer period of time and usually takes about nine months before it is considered to have failed.

Firstly, an intervention specialist is contacted to help moderate and plan the meetings. After the initial planning, the first meeting is held. If the addict does not agree at this time to go for treatment, then another meeting is planned. This process continues until the addict agrees to go to rehab, but if after around five interventions the person still refuses to get the treatment they need, then a final meeting with severe consequences if they do not comply is held.

Surprise Model

Another one of the commonly used substance abuse intervention techniques is the surprise model, also known as The Johnson Model – created in the 1960s. The way he went about how to do a drug intervention was instead of trying to bully the addict into treatment, the aim is to make the person aware that the community is ready to help them get better.

How to do a drug intervention with this model involves making the addict aware of how much of a negative effect their actions have, and it is most often used when the addict has several excuses that they blame for their behavior. The model works by empowering the members of the meeting with information about addiction and how it’s treated.

Family Model

The family model relies on a wider approach to the problem – much like family therapy does. How to find an intervention specialist is the first thing that needs to be discussed. If you need to know how to find an intervention specialist, then contact WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470.

The intervention specialist is there to mediate the meeting between the entire family. The focus is not on the addict’s responsibility alone – it also looks at each family member’s role in the addiction, such as enablers. Once each person knows their role, each of them is asked to change something about their life to bring about a supportive environment for recovery.


If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.