When confronting drug addiction, many people wonder if the specific substance someone is addicted to influences the type of intervention required. The answer is a resounding yes. The drug of choice significantly impacts the approach taken in drug addiction interventions. Each substance presents unique challenges and requires tailored strategies for effective intervention.

If you or a loved one is in need or considering a drug abuse intervention, the details of the drug intervention plan matter. In this blog post, we will explore how specific drugs influence the different intervention models deployed, how each of those models is designed for specific drug addictions, and why specific models work for specific drugs.  

How the Drug of Choice Influences Intervention Models

Different drugs affect the brain and behavior in various ways, necessitating different approaches to drug intervention. For instance, the physical dependence associated with opioids requires a different intervention strategy than the psychological dependence seen with stimulants like cocaine. Understanding these nuances allows interventionists to craft a plan that addresses the specific needs of the individual.

Top 5 Types of Intervention Models and Associated Drugs

1. The Johnson Model

The Johnson Model is one of the most widely recognized intervention strategies. This confrontational approach involves family and friends presenting a structured plan to the addicted individual, highlighting the consequences of their addiction, and urging them to accept treatment.

– Associated Drugs: This model is often used for alcohol and opioid addictions.

– Why It Works: These substances typically cause severe physical dependence, and the clear, direct confrontation helps break through denial and prompts immediate action.

2. The Invitational Model

Unlike the Johnson Model, the Invitational Model, also known as the Systemic Family Intervention, invites the individual to a meeting where the entire family discusses the impact of addiction. This approach is non-confrontational and aims to involve the individual in the decision-making process.

– Associated Drugs: Suitable for marijuana, prescription medications, and sometimes alcohol.

– Why It Works: These drugs might not cause immediate physical dependency, making a collaborative approach effective in encouraging the individual to seek help voluntarily.

3. The ARISE Model

The ARISE (A Relational Sequence for Engagement) Model focuses on mobilizing the support system gradually and uses a non-confrontational approach. It encourages the individual to enter treatment through the support and involvement of family members.

– Associated Drugs: Works well for a variety of substances, including alcohol, marijuana, and stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine.

– Why It Works: By gradually involving the support system, this model helps reduce resistance and fosters a sense of trust and cooperation.

4. The Love First Model

The Love First Model combines elements of the Johnson and Invitational models, focusing on love and concern rather than confrontation. This method involves a rehearsed and carefully planned intervention where the individual is surrounded by loved ones expressing their concerns and offering support.

– Associated Drugs: Effective for a range of substances, including alcohol, opioids, and benzodiazepines.

– Why It Works: The emphasis on love and support can break through the individual’s defenses and highlight the concern and care of their loved ones, making them more receptive to treatment.

5. The CRAFT Model

Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) is a behaviorally-based intervention model that teaches families how to encourage the individual to seek treatment and reinforces positive behaviors while discouraging substance use.

– Associated Drugs: Versatile for most substances, particularly effective for stimulants and marijuana.

– Why It Works: This model empowers family members with techniques to support their loved one’s recovery journey, fostering a supportive environment that encourages treatment.

Why Specific Models Work for Specific Drugs


Alcohol addiction often involves severe physical dependence and denial. The Johnson Model’s confrontational style is effective in breaking through denial and prompting immediate action. Alternatively, the Love First Model’s supportive approach can be beneficial, especially when the individual has a strong emotional bond with their family.


Opioid addiction presents unique challenges due to intense physical dependency and the high risk of overdose. The Johnson and Love First models work well because they confront the issue head-on, emphasizing the urgent need for treatment. The ARISE Model can also be effective by building trust and gradually involving the individual in their recovery journey.

Stimulants (Cocaine, Methamphetamine)

Stimulant addiction often leads to severe psychological dependency. The CRAFT and ARISE models are particularly effective because they focus on positive reinforcement and gradual engagement, which helps in dealing with the psychological aspects of addiction.


While often perceived as less severe, marijuana addiction can still significantly impact one’s life. The Invitational and CRAFT models work well here, as they foster an environment of cooperation and support, making the individual more likely to engage in treatment voluntarily.

Prescription Medications

Addiction to prescription medications, such as benzodiazepines, can be tricky due to their legitimate medical use. The Love First and Invitational models are effective because they emphasize support and understanding, encouraging the individual to recognize their addiction and seek help.

Customizing Interventions for Individual Needs

At Living Recovery Interventions, we believe that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to drug addiction interventions. As an intervention specialist, I take pride in customizing each intervention to meet the specific needs of the individual and the type of drug abuse disorder they are dealing with. Here’s how we ensure each intervention is tailored effectively:

Comprehensive Assessment

Before planning an intervention, we conduct a thorough assessment to understand the individual’s substance use history, mental health status, family dynamics, and any underlying issues. This helps us choose the most appropriate intervention model.

Involving Loved Ones

Family and friends play a crucial role in the intervention process. We involve them in the planning stages, providing education and training to ensure they understand their roles and how to effectively support their loved one.

Flexible Strategies

Each intervention plan is flexible and can be adjusted as needed. If one approach isn’t working, we are prepared to pivot and try another strategy, ensuring the individual’s needs are met.

Post-Intervention Support

Our commitment doesn’t end with the intervention. We provide ongoing support to the family and the individual, helping them navigate the early stages of recovery and ensuring they have access to the necessary resources and treatment options.

In the realm of drug addiction interventions, the drug of choice does indeed matter. Different substances require different approaches, and understanding these nuances is crucial for a successful intervention. Living Recovery Interventions specializes in drug addiction interventions in Billings, Montana, and are dedicated to providing personalized, effective interventions tailored to the specific needs of each client. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out. Together, we can find the right path to recovery.


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