man writing a sample intervention letter

Substance abuse impacts not only those abusing drugs or alcohol, but also their families, loved ones, coworkers, friends, and society in general. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimates that substance abuse costs American society around $600 billion a year in healthcare costs, lost production costs, and crime-related expenses.

Addiction is defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) as a disease, one that is chronic and relapsing, that affects brain circuitry, resulting in compulsive drug-seeking and using behaviors. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) of 2014, approximately 21.5 million adults over the age of 12 in the United States suffered from a substance use disorder in the prior year.

Many times, individuals battling addiction and substance abuse may not recognize, or want to admit, that a problem exists, and they may deny that they could benefit from treatment. Loved ones can decide to host an intervention to motivate individuals into a specialized treatment program that can aid in their recovery and improve overall quality of life. An intervention is a structured meeting that may include many people from all sectors of a person’s life – anyone who may be affected by the person’s substance abuse. The event is meant to help individuals recognize the need to seek help and enter into a treatment program of their own volition.

To best ensure a successful result, a set plan should be in place going into an intervention, in order to help keep things on track and to help loved ones remember what they wanted to say and the points they need to get across. Sometimes, it may be easier to read from a letter or give the letter to another person to read during an intervention. At times, family members may not be able to be present at an intervention, and letters may be a way for them to be heard during the meeting as well.

To best ensure a successful result, a set plan should be in place going into an intervention, in order to help keep things on track and to help loved ones remember what they wanted to say and the points they need to get across.


Sample Intervention Letter

Dear Simon,

I hope you know how important you are to me, and how much your family and I love and appreciate you. You have always been a wonderful provider and partner in life. I am concerned about your recent drug use and want to help you get professional help. I will support you every step of the way and help you to get the treatment you need.

Lately, I have been unable to count on you to come home on time and just last week when you told me you were going to work, your boss called and said you never made it in. I was worried you had overdosed on pills and were unconscious somewhere, or even worse, had gotten into an accident or died. I worry about this every day. Later, when you finally came home, you were angry and I was scared. I know you don’t mean to scare me and that the drugs are affecting your kind demeanor.

Your health is also being negatively affected by the drugs. Your blood pressure is dangerously high, and I am concerned that this may lead to a stroke or heart attack if the drug abuse isn’t stopped. You seem to be always sad and appear stressed out these days. I miss the fun, happy, and full-of-life man you were, our late-night talks, and dinners together at home.

I also understand that you may not be able to stop taking the pills without help. Addiction is a disease that works on your brain and makes it hard for you to not take drugs. I understand this is not your fault and that there is a way to change for the better.

I have found a special treatment program that can help you get the drugs out of your body safely and help you to get better and stop using drugs. They have an opening right now, and we can drive there today. I know it might not be an easy decision to make, but remember that I will be by your side and there to help you through this.

If you decide against getting help today, I will not be coming home with you. I will no longer give you money or cover for you when you miss work. If you choose help, I will do the best I can to help you in any way possible. I love you regardless of what you choose, and I always will. I hope that you will join me on the path to recovery together.

I love you,


Other Tips to Writing the Letter


On many fronts, an intervention letter can be a useful tool during an intervention. There are some general guidelines for scripting an intervention letter, such as:

A professional interventionist can guide the entire planning process, including the process of writing intervention letters. While an interventionist is always invaluable in structuring and leading an intervention, hiring a professional is essential if the subject of the intervention has a history of mental illness, violence, or self-harm.

It’s Never Too Late to Get Help