Derived from poppy plants, opiates are narcotics used in drugs like heroin, morphine and prescription painkillers. All opiates are addictive, so they can produce debilitating problems when people abuse them. The 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health provides the following data on painkiller abuse:
- 3.2% of adults aged 26 or older reported painkiller abuse in the past year
- Nearly 10% of adults aged 18 to 25 reported past-year drug abuse
- More people abuse opiates as their first drug more than any other drug except marijuana
- An estimated 1.4 million people had painkiller dependence in 2011
Opiate addiction can cripple someone’s behavior, health and psychology, and it can be difficult to correct these changes without professional help. Many addicts deny their addiction problems and deceive their loved ones, but friends and family can hold an intervention to encourage recovery.
Preparing an Intervention for an Opiate Addict
To plan an intervention for an opiate addict, the first step is to choose a moderator and the participants. To do this, consider the following recommendations:
- To choose a moderator, hire a professional interventionist or choose someone the addict respects
- Select participants who love the addict and will not enable addictive behavior
- Do not invite people who have unrelated conflicts with the addict
With the moderator and participants in place, the second step is to prepare for the event, which includes the following steps:
- Decide to hold the intervention when the addict is unlikely to be high
- Write intervention letters that recount firsthand pain caused by the addiction
- Rehearse reading the letters aloud to others and improve them as needed
- Inform participants that addiction is a brain disease, not an issue of willpower
- Acquire information and printed brochures on addiction treatment centers
The moderator or interventionist should help participants write the letters and remove any language that sounds bitter, judgmental or condescending.
Tips for Holding an Intervention
Consider these additional tips to make the event more effective:
- Allow the moderator to direct the readings and handle the addict’s responses
- Avoid arguing with the addict or being bitter about drug abuse
- Ask the opiate user to get professional help
- Push for immediate admittance to avoid procrastination
A good moderator is key, so loved ones who take on this role must be well informed about addiction, recovery and how to guide participants. However, consider hiring a professional, as they have extensive experience with the process and can lend an authoritative voice.
Opiate Addiction Treatment
Treatment centers offer opiate addicts the following services:
- Medically supervised detox
- Mental health care for any co-occurring issues
- Strategies to overcome drug cravings
- Behavioral therapies that promote healthy mental activity
- Group therapy to share experiences and provide support
- Care for chronic pain that does not use addictive drugs
In pushing for professional help, moderators must be prepared to explain these treatment options and others.
If you or a loved one struggles with opiate abuse reach out for help right now. Our admissions coordinators are ready 24 hours a day to discuss intervention techniques, treatment options and facility locations. They can also recommend interventionists, provide printed materials and even check health insurance policies for treatment benefits. Call our toll-free helpline now for instant, confidential support.