How Much Does A Drug And/Or Alcohol Intervention Cost?
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How Much Does A Drug And/Or Alcohol Intervention Cost

John Schaffer, LPCC

Medically reviewed by

John Schaffer, LPCC

February 25, 2019

An intervention is a great way to confront an individual about their drug or alcohol use and encourage them to seek treatment. While professional interventions can be costly, they could end up saving more than just money down the line.

In the long term, a drug or alcohol addiction is costly on many levels. A person’s brain and body suffer immensely, and from a financial perspective, most addictions accrue great expense over time. From the actual cost of the drug of abuse to the way the addiction impacts a person’s life, the financial obligations associated with substance abuse and addiction may be large.

At the hand of drugs or alcohol, a person may suffer detriment to or loss of their job, increased healthcare costs, legal fees, and even child support—should a divorce occur due to the strain of an addiction. While it may be easy to look at the costs of preventative measures, like an intervention, and be overcome by their initial cost, looking forward, these things may actually save an individual and their family a significant amount of money in the long run. If you have a loved one suffering from a drug and/or alcohol addiction, you may be wondering what an intervention entails and exactly how much it might cost.

What Is An Intervention?

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) writes that “Intervention is a professionally directed, education process resulting in a face to face meeting of family members, friends and/or employer with the person in trouble with alcohol or drugs.” Looking closely at this, you will see an operative statement—“professionally directed.”

While many people may likely be familiar with the term and concept, a fair amount may have an inaccurate perception of what an intervention entails. Some may think that an intervention occurs under the direction of friends and family members. While this does occur, this is not recommended. Though these individuals are typically key components of an intervention, in order for maximum success and impact, we strongly urge that you seek a professionally-directed intervention. These professionals may be pastor, or, as NCADD offers “an alcohol and addictions counselor, social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist, or interventionist.”

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Why Choose A Professional Intervention?

Whereas a friend- or family-directed intervention may become side-tracked by high emotions, blame, or other unpredictable circumstances, a professional possesses the experience and skill-set to avoid or overcome these situations. Professionally led interventions have higher success rates, leading more frequently to treatment, and subsequently to better recovery outcomes.

An addiction changes the way a person thinks, thus, they may have impaired abilities to reason, make effective judgements, and to think rationally. In addition, there are other circumstances to consider that warrant the use of a professional, including, as outlined by NCADD, if a person has:

  • A background of severe mental illness
  • Previously exhibited a violent or aggressive nature
  • Displayed either suicidal ideation or an actual attempts at taking their life
  • Been, or is currently taking mood-altering substances
  • Led you to think they may engage in self-harm or violent behaviors in response to the intervention

An experienced professional will have within their repertoire communication skills, resources, and contingency plans to balance these concerns, should they arise, while also effectively leading the intervention. Added to this, a professional should possess an excellent understanding of the best evidence-based addiction treatments. These individuals do not simply show up, instead they spend an ample amount of time preparing for the actual event and making arrangements for the next step, should the addicted individual agree to seek help.

How Much Does This Cost?

The cost of an intervention may vary, according to individual who performs it, the amount of time they spend planning and preparing for the event, and the amount of time spent performing the actual intervention.

In rare cases, an intervention may be free, such as that which is performed by a pastor or other religious entity, however, it is important to consider their level of experience and potential of success when considering this option—some may have little to no experience or training in these matters.

Other professionals, including the aforementioned alcohol and addictions counselor, social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist may be cheaper than a professional interventionist, and may charge regular office hours and/or additional fees for this service. Again, while these may be effective options, consider their level of expertise—not all of these individuals may have experience of this nature.

While these individuals may, at times, be adept and trained at offering an extensive intervention for serious concerns, these options may be better for those with low to moderate risk. These may be referred to as “brief interventions,” and may include one to two conversations or sessions “to provide information or advice, increase motivation to avoid substance use, or to teach behavior change skills that will reduce substance use as well as the chances of negative consequences,” as offered by the “Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT): Toward a Public Health Approach to the Management of Substance Abuse.”

In the case of moderate to severe risk, a professional interventionist may be your best option. These individuals are highly-trained and typically certified, to ensure they provide the highest level of care, guidance, and execution of the intervention. While this is the most expensive option, it is the option that may garner the best, and most impactful, results.

Depending on where you live, an interventionist may have to travel to your location and in some cases, stay the night. The costs associated with transportation or lodging may, at times, be included in the overall cost, however, be certain to ask, as they may be extra and could even include airfare if the facilitator has to fly to your location.

Many interventions actually last two days—the first being a day to consult with the family and the second being the day the actual intervention takes place. Many individuals or groups that offer these services require a sizable, non-refundable down payment before they will initiate this process. In addition, should you desire the interventionist to accompany your loved one to inpatient drug treatment, additional fees will apply. Here you will be responsible for any other transportation fees, including a plane ticket for the interventionist and your loved one, as well as a fee for this service. We found these fees to typically fall in the mid $400 range.

Looking over various intervention services, we found that interventionists either charge a flat rate or hourly, with prices ranges from roughly $2,000 to $10,000 for out of pocket expenses. This is sizable sum for many and may not be feasible for every budget. Fortunately, some do offer sliding fee scales and financing options. Remember, the price of the actual drug or alcohol treatment is not included in this fee and insurance does not typically cover interventions.

Putting The Cost In Perspective

When facing concerns of other financial obligations, including those already incurred by the addiction, it may be tempting to consider a low-cost option—however, you must try to look beyond the present and consider what the overall cost will be in the long term. Firstly, should you not seek an intervention at all, a person may continue to abuse substances, compounding the damage to their person, and further accumulating an even greater bulk of financial costs.

Secondly, consider the cost should you stage an intervention yourself—and it doesn’t work. Similar to the above, if ineffective, your loved one may continue to use drugs or alcohol in a way that is harmful to both them and you. In addition, should you attempt to devise and carry out an intervention yourself, should tensions or emotions run high, you may alienate your loved one and damage your relationship with them. For an addicted individual, having meaningful and supportive relationships are key to a more balanced recovery.

An intervention is an investment, one that could offer priceless returns—your loved one shedding the damaging lifestyle of their addiction and living a more fulfilling and healthier drug-free life.

Let Us Help You Reinvest In Your Life

When considering the amount of choices regarding prevention, intervention, and treatment for an individual abusing or addicted to substances, you may feel uncertain of where to start. That’s why we provide you with direct access to our highly trained treatment specialists, so that you can begin forming the best plan for your loved one. Contact us at

Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT):Toward a Public Health Approach to the Management of Substance Abuse

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