What To Look For In A Drug Intervention Specialist

Lena ElkinsIntervention

drug intervention specialist
If you are watching a loved one struggle with a substance use disorder—whether it’s a child, a family member, a spouse, or a friend—it can be difficult to find the right resources to help them get sober. Especially when you have tried to help them over and over again, and nothing seems to work, it can feel defeating, depressing, and hopeless for both you and the person suffering. Trust us—you are not alone. At that point, it can be extremely helpful to turn to a specialist who can intervene and help them get back on track.

Addiction Specialist Credentials

When beginning to search for the right addiction specialist, it is important to be aware that a lot of individuals will claim to be able to help you, but won’t meet the exact requirements that you are looking for. It’s not that they aren’t well-intentioned, but it’s important to do your research and not hire someone too quickly because they might lack the right experience. You want to look for someone who has outstanding references, credentials, and experience working with someone with a substance use disorder and helping them reach success. If you end up hiring someone who lacks the skills and experience to help your loved one, it’s not only likely that the treatment won’t work, but your loved one can become resentful and distant from you for putting them in that position. It’s best to do thorough background research and speak to as many referrals as possible before choosing to hire them. The good news is that it’s easy to identify if the intervention specialist has the necessary credentials—all you have to do is check with the Association of Intervention Specialists to see if they were certified. If so, the individual will have BRI-I or BRI-II after their name. By contacting AIS, it’s simple to confirm that they went through the program and graduated with the necessary credentials. It is possible that certain interventionists have different degrees or certificates, such as CSW, CCDC, or MSW. These are all proof that the individual has gone through courses and training that focus on substance abuse and mental health issues, which can also be very helpful and relevant to your situation. However, regardless of the credentials that one might have, it’s crucial to run a thorough background check and consult with various references to ensure that they’re the right specialist for you.

Case Management Experience

It’s also important to consider someone who has experience with case management. As you probably know, an intervention is much more complex than one singular event. It’s an ongoing process that requires both the loved ones and the specialist to conduct pre-intervention research and create a strategic plan for your loved one, such as finding the right recovery center, monitoring their progress, ensuring that they have the appropriate resources for their needs, creating a sustainable aftercare program, and much more. Someone who has the experience of working with someone with a substance use disorder and their loved ones and has seen them through their recovery is who you’re looking for when reviewing candidates. Someone who only has experience in (or who is only capable of) being attentive during the intervention is not someone who you want to depend on and hire.

Questions To Ask Before You Hire

When you start the process of reaching out to various intervention professionals, they’ll most likely ask you some basic questions that will enable them to gauge the severity of the situation and how they can best prepare. It’s very important to be open and honest with them so that the can fully grasp what’s happening, even if you haven’t officially offered them the “job” yet. Here are some questions that you should be prepared to answer:
  • What specific substances is this individual using?
  • How long have they been using it for?
  • Did something happen recently—maybe an accident, overdose, or run-in with the law—that motivated you to reach out to a specialist?
  • If any, has this individual been in previous treatment, and if not, have you tried to get them into treatment or have an intervention before?
  • Are there other family members or friends who are involved in this intervention? Is there anything specific I need to know about them?
Once you find the right specialist for you and your loved one who’s looking to get help, try to feel comfortable leaning on that person for guidance and support. It’s common for the families of someone with a substance use disorder to feel or experience various issues during this process, such as resistance, guilt, anger, vulnerability, and frustration. These intervention specialists are professionals at not only guiding the person in recovery, but their loved ones as well. So, when choosing the right individual, be ready to be open and honest with them about what you are going through as well.