The best drug intervention program is the one that interrupts an addicts using and then challenges them to find a new way of life that can replace the passion and excitement that they once had for drug use. That is a big challenge right there but if we want to help addicts we need to move towards that as an ideal model of treatment and intervention.
The big shift over the last several years has been one from that of punishment towards rehabilitation. That is the basic idea behind changing our overall intervention strategy. Instead of sending addicts to jail or kick them out of school, instead we decided to try and help them get off drugs. Now even without seeing the raw data and numbers for what this change in intervention strategy has produced, I know it is far better in many ways.
For one thing, I know that it saves big money. We have all seen the statistics about how much it costs to incarcerate a drug addict for 10 years versus what it costs to send them to rehab and get them clean and sober. Even if success rates are quite low in the treatment industry (they are) it is still far cheaper to get one of out of every 20 addicts clean and sober rather than sending them to prison and letting society foot the bill. From a financial standpoint, pushing addicts towards rehab instead of prison is a good thing.
Now if you realize the huge cost savings from an intervention program that promotes recovery over punishment, then you can probably imagine what would happen if we pushed this idea and took it a step further. If you can get rehabilitated addicts to help each other stay clean then you multiply your efforts. If you can get rehabilitated addicts to carry a message of hope to others who are headed toward a life of addiction then you can have a big impact that way as well. If you can leverage the people that you get clean and sober to help you spread a message of hope then you can have a very positive effect in the long run. This should ultimately be the goal of an intervention program and the idea should be to take it and make it grow as much as possible.
The challenge of course is to get people excited about living a life of sobriety. If you can offer them a life of passion and purpose that is more fulfilling than what they had using drugs, then you can win them over and get them to stay clean and help others.
You have to realize of course that helping addicts and alcoholics is a long term proposition. If you could just send them to a short program and magically cure them forever, then we would not really have a drug problem in this world. But the fact is that most people require multiple interventions in their drug or alcohol career before they finally “stick and stay” in recovery. It is a lifelong process, so be prepared for that battle to drag on for a bit.