How to Prepare for a Conversation about a Loved One’s Opiate Addiction

How to Prepare for a Conversation about a Loved One's Opiate Addiction

Preparing for a Conversation about a Loved One’s Opiate Addiction

Opiates are drugs made from opium poppy plants. These drugs change the way the brain perceives pain. At the same time, this form of drug also gives the user feelings of euphoria. People who abuse opiates are at higher risk than others to become addicted. When one of your loved ones has an opiate addiction, you may feel intimidated or even frightened to bring up the topic of getting help. While want to do what is best for your loved one, it is normal to fear having an argument or confrontation.

If this describes your situation, one of the best things you can do is learn about interventions. In many cases of addiction, a more focused approach is often needed. You may need to join forces with others and take action through a formal intervention. An intervention is a carefully planned process often done by family and friends, with a doctor or an interventionist.[1] Sometimes a conversation about addiction needs the help of a trained professional to be productive. Many times, you can use a mediator to help your loved one get the help that is needed.

Signs of Opiate Addiction

If your loved one uses opiates to treat pain, it is important to know the signs of addiction. Tolerance for opiates can develop after just a few doses, so the patient needs more of the drug to achieve the same level of relief. Because tolerance can quickly lead to addiction, please know help is needed if you notice any of the following problems:

  • Withdrawal symptoms when drug use is discontinued
  • A supply of the drug is needed at all times
  • Engaging in illegal activity, like stealing, to get and use the drug
  • Personal hygiene is neglected
  • Financial or legal problems

If your loved one uses opiates and has any of these symptoms, it is time to discuss getting help. Please do not delay; overdose and even death are very possible from opiate abuse.

How to Address Opiate Addiction

An interventionist or mediator can help you communicate with your loved one about their drug addiction. They can help family members communicate their thoughts and feelings productively, which helps them deal with their emotions. Before an intervention, a mediator will hear each family member to devise a plan for an intervention. This can take one or multiple sessions, depending on the situation.

Opiate Addiction Intervention

Another powerful tool for addressing opiate addiction is having an intervention. An interventionist can help you plan, rehearse and carry out an intervention to get your loved one into treatment. Interventionists are trained and experienced in dealing with addicts, so they can help you decide who should lead your team, what friends and family members should be involved and when the intervention should happen.

Not all interventions are the same as there are several different forms of interventions. Some common intervention models include the Johnson model where the addict is surprised, the Motivational Interviewing model which is invitational and evidence based, and the ARISE Model which is an invitational, non-secretive, three-phase model.[2]

An interventionist will help your loved one find the right treatment program, so treatment can begin right after the intervention. Using an interventionist helps you and other family members prepare to communicate what the addiction has done to your family in a productive way.

Help for Opiate Addiction

No matter what the specifics of your situation—if you are reading this, you likely want to discuss your situation with a real person. Our helpline is absolutely free and there is no obligation on your part. We have professionally trained counselors available to answer your questions about addiction and to help you find a treatment program. Call our toll-free, 24-hour helpline right now for instant support.

[1] Intervention: Help A Loved One Overcome Addiction.

[2] The 411 on Addiction Interventions. Benton, Sarah. Published on August 14th, 2012.

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