Before you even get to the point of considering treatment options, a person with a substance use disorder has to recognize that there’s a problem. While some people come to this realization on their own, in many cases, an intervention may be necessary.

There are many misconceptions about intervention, but the process is rarely the dramatic and emotional confrontation you see in movies or on television. In reality, an intervention is a solutions-based meeting or series of meetings that can span several weeks with the specific goal of persuading a person with a substance use disorder to seek help. Best conducted under the supervision of a professional,[1] friends and family explain the negative consequences of the addiction, present treatment options, and ask the person to enter treatment.

In this section, we’ll tell you All About Intervention <link>, answering the important questions you might have about the process, what’s involved and how it works. When you’re ready to move forward, you can find detailed information about who to include, which model to use, the dos and don’ts for success, and more in Conducting an Intervention.

Of the two million people who’ve entered substance use treatment facilities, 75% say friends and family were major motivators in the decision to seek help.[2] The resources in this section will provide the information you need to make your intervention as successful as possible – and take that important step toward helping someone you care about with a substance use disorder on the road to recovery.

[1] Loneck B1, Garrett JA, Banks SM. A comparison of the Johnson Intervention with four other methods of referral to outpatient treatment. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 1996 May;22(2):233-46.
[2] McCrady B. 2006. Family and Other Close Relationships. In Wm. Miller & K Carroll (Eds) Rethinking Substance Abuse. Gilford Press. New York, NY