Heroin Addiction Intervention
Heroin is a dangerous, life altering and extremely addicting drug. Heroin addiction is a rough road that generally leads to one (or more) of three destinations: jail, an institutions or death. Staging a heroin addiction intervention can encourage an addict to stop in his tracks and help get him on the right path.
What is a Heroin Intervention?
A heroin addiction intervention is a structured confrontation that takes place in order to help convince a person who is struggling with a heroin addiction to seek help. It presents an opportunity for him to do so and lays out consequences if he doesn’t. The intervention is done in person, face-to-face, and is best when lead by a professional. Family, friends, employers, co-workers and anyone else who is close to the addict and is willing to be a support can be part of the group.
Understanding an Intervention
The goal of an intervention is ultimately to get the addict to voluntarily go into a rehabilitation center or to go for some form of treatment. It is not designed to simply force the addict to stop his bad behavior of using drugs because that’s not how addiction works. As is said in Narcotic’s Anonymous, addiction is a chronic, cunning and baffling disease. The object of the game is to convince the addict to get realistic and effective help.
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One trademark characteristic of addiction is denial. Even if the addict admits he has a problem, he is likely to think it’s not that bad or that he can just quit using on his own. It is the intention of an intervention to help to convince him otherwise. Doing so very well may involve showing some “tough love”, like ultimatums, that let him know his continued use will bring consequences. While not every intervention results in immediate surrender to treatment, the implementing of repercussions will at least begin to steer him in the right direction.
Heroin is one of the hardest drugs to kick because abstinence from it brings on withdrawals. Your loved one may have even attempted, unsuccessfully, to quit on his own. An intervention offers options that are sensitive to his physical and mental dependency such as a detox program that will assist him in getting through it as comfortably as possible.
Importance of a Heroin Addiction Intervention
Heroin addiction does not cure itself. It must be stopped. If you don’t want your loved one to lose everything, possibly including his life, the most loving thing to do is to stage a heroin intervention. The bottom line is that an intervention introduces hope and with hope, all things are possible.
If you have a loved one with a heroin addiction, you know firsthand how difficult it can be to deal with someone who is ruled by a drug. Addiction is an illness that effects the entire family. Other family members and close friends can easily find themselves in a role as well such as a “co-dependent”, “enabler” or even a “victim”. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the addict’s actions and behaviors. An addict can convince his wife that she is imagining things or can actually have his mother buying drugs for him because he gets “sick” if he doesn’t get a “fix”. No, it doesn’t make sense. It sounds absurd. That is why the disease is called “cunning and baffling”.
It is important for you to work alongside a professional who can keep you on route with your plan. It’s common to get sidetracked with such feelings as: doubt, pity for the user, fear and anger. A professional can help you as well as the addict.
In order to get properly prepared for a confrontation, it’s a good idea to determine why you think your loved one is addicted. Perhaps he has admitted it to you or someone else but if not, here are some signs that point to a heroin addiction:
- Finding the substance or paraphernalia like syringes, bent or burnt spoons or rolled up dollar bills.
- Constant scratching.
- Nausea and vomiting (while high or when in withdrawal).
- Runny nose and cold or flu-like symptoms.
- Stealing or getting money from other desperate measures.
- Lying about whereabouts.
- Being overly sleepy or up at odd hours.
- “Nodding” which is drifting off to sleep.
- Constricted pupils
- Slow breathing.
- Dry mouth.
- Flushed skin.
- Needle marks on veins (and attempts to cover it with long sleeves).
- Slurring of speech.
- Not keeping personal hygiene up.
- Constipation and/or diarrhea.
- Change of eating patterns (usually lack of eating).
- Extreme emotions, both happy and sad.
When is it Time to Intervene?
If you suspect your loved one is using heroin (or any other drug), the time to intervene in immediately. Begin your plan today. Tomorrow is never promised, especially when heroin is involved.
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Three Steps to Staging a Intervention
Step One: The Plan
- Enlist the help of a professional interventionist. You will want to contact a professional who can assist and guide you through the process. A drug and alcohol counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, pastor or even a parole or probation officer can act as an intervention leader. There is also the option of obtaining the help of a professional intervention specialist that is specifically trained in the area which is an excellent consideration for such a serious situation.
- Form the team. Make a list of people in the addict’s life that you feel might like to be a part of the meeting. Be sure each individual is going to be a positive, constructive influence. If you think someone is going to have a negative impact, it is best not to involve him or her. Contact each individual on your list, invite them to be a part of the team.
- Set a day, time and location for the event to take place. Be sure to allow time for the group to meet before the addict arrives. It’s a good idea to have a meeting prior to the meeting, like the day before, if possible.
- The plan within the plan. It is important to have an ultimate plan of action to present the addict with during the intervention. Together with a professional and other members of the team, you can explore rehabilitation options. Because heroin is a physically addicting drug, detox will be in order. Once detox has been completed, in-house treatment is optimal to help ensure a successful recovery. It is imperative to have concrete plans that can be carried out in the event the addict accepts the help.
- Preliminary meeting. At some point before the intervention, it is important for the group to get together with the leader of the intervention to set rules and guidelines for the meeting and to discuss what each individual will say. Each member can give specific examples of how the addictive behavior is affecting the addict, physically, mentally, financially, etc. The more actual facts, the better. Members will also be able to set boundaries and state exactly how they will no longer tolerate addictive behavior in the event that treatment is not accepted.
- Be sure NOT to inform the addict of the event. Interventions are designed to catch the addicted person off guard so that he cannot plan his defense or not show up. You will need a plan in place to get the addict to the place of the intervention. Do whatever it takes in order to do so. While this may seem harsh, consider what is at stake.
Step Two: Putting the Plan into Action
- Team members will gather before the addict arrives. Each person will collect their thoughts and prepare to meet the challenge ahead with a loving, proactive approach.
- When the addict arrives, he will be informed as to why he and his support group are there. Be advised that he may react with anger, resentment, fear or embarrassment. He may feel he has been betrayed. These are very typical reactions.
- Sometimes the addict will attempt to leave right away. In the event that he does, it is important to state the consequences that will result if he does. Let him know exact details of how his using will no longer be tolerated.
- In the event that he does participate in the intervention, congratulations. Half the battle has been won. Now it is up to the interventionist and the rest of the group to confront the addict’s behavior with facts and feelings, show love and concern and present treatment as a plan of action. Each person should also let the addict know what he or she is prepared to do (or not do) if he does not accept help.
- If the addict agrees to go to treatment, ideally he will go immediately. If it is impossible to do so, it is highly advised that he be
Step Three: During and After Treatment
- It is imperative for your loved one to receive lots of love and support from the group during his time in detox and treatment. Some rehabilitation programs encourage communication and visitation while others prefer for the addict to totally focus on his or her self, at least initially. Become familiar with the rules of the treatment center and work within the guidelines so you can be a help and not a hindrance.
- During and after treatment, participate in counseling with him. You may even need to seek counseling on an individual basis as co-dependency and enabling are often seen in those who are close to an addict. Be prepared to do whatever it takes for your loved one to live a successful life of recovery.
- When the addict gets out of treatment, an aftercare plan will be in order. This may entail continued twelve step meetings, individual counseling and/or other activities that will help him stay on course.
- Familiarize yourself with the signs and symptoms of backsliding and relapse. Be sure the rest of your loved one’s support team does the same. Be prepared to confront the situation if it arises.
- Take an active part in your loved one’s recovery and know that it is a lifelong process. It may not always be convenient, for you or for him, but it is the privilege of a lifetime.
Facts About a Heroin Addiction Intervention
- Male figures, such as fathers and brothers, are the most difficult to convince that a Heroin addiction intervention is necessary.
- Studies show that it is ten times more effective to employ the assistance of a professional interventionist.
- Addicts are much more likely to go to treatment when an intervention is staged.
- No intervention is unsuccessful. At the worst, it sets down consequences for continued use. It is a fact that people do what works. Eventually, your loved one will hopefully find that using no longer works although this may be a process.
- Interventions that are structured in love, with everyone on the same page, are the most effective ones of all.
- Addicts are unable to make good, sound decisions for themselves. It often becomes up to their loved ones to step in and intervene in order for there to be a positive change of course.
Heroin Intervention – Conclusion
When someone you love has a heroin addiction, it’s common to feel helpless and hopeless. Staging an intervention is the most loving and constructive thing you can do to point him in the way of treatment. Planning and conducting an intervention is not an easy thing. It can be very uncomfortable, inconvenient and even scary. With help from the information you have just learned, you will be better equipped to carry out a successful intervention that will introduce help and hope so that your loved one can begin a wonderful new journey to recovery.
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