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In today’s post, we’ll share with you how to arrange an intervention for opiate addiction or other prescription drug addiction.


If you are seeking to arrange an intervention for a loved one due to addiction to prescription painkillers or other opiates, then look no further than Andy Bhatti Intervention & Addiction Services. We’ve been arranging and leading interventions for opiate addiction for over a decade, and our Vancouver intervention company has a 98% success rate in helping your loved one get into a drug or alcohol treatment center in British Columbia.

Vancouver, BC Woman Walking along ocean


We work closely with people having problems with opiates and prescription pain medication, in Vancouver, British Columbia. 


Vancouver is a major healthcare town, so being counted among the most reputable and successful drug interventionists here in British Columbia is no small feat – and without a doubt, is certainly a great honor. Our Vancouver Intervention Team is truly honored to be known as one of Canada’s top leading professional drug and alcohol intervention companies. Our professional addiction therapist and interventionist help save lives.


Do you have a loved one experiencing problems relating to opiates and prescription painkillers? If so, we’d like to help you. This is why we exist. It drives us! As recovered addicts and alcoholics ourselves, we have a deep understanding of the many related issues that come up in situations where a family member or other individual has been living with an addiction.


Please note that our professional Intervention Team serves all of Canada, but you can rest assured that wherever you live, we will be able to help you. All you need to do is ask for a free consultation, and that will get the ball rolling. We would be honored to help you wherever you are!


Okay, let’s dive right in.

  • More About Opiate and Fentanyl Addiction
  • Signs of Opiate Dependence
  • Physical Symptoms of Opiate Withdrawal
  • Psychological Symptoms of Opiate Withdrawal
  • Detoxification
  • How Not To Enable an Opiate Addict
  • Consequences of Enabling
  • Does Your Loved One Have a Problem with an Opiate or Fentanyl Addiction in Vancouver, British Columbia?
  • How can we help?


More About Opiate and Fentanyl Addiction


Facts On Opiate Addiction & Interventions


In 2019, nearly 50,000 people in the United States died from opioid-involved overdoses. The misuse of and addiction to opioids—including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl—is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare.”


How did this happen?

“In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. This subsequently led to widespread diversion and misuse of these medications before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive. Opioid overdose rates began to increase. In 2017, more than 47,000 Americans died as a result of an opioid overdose, including prescription opioids, heroin, and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid. That same year, an estimated 1.7 million people in the United States suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers, and 652,000 suffered from a heroin use disorder (not mutually exclusive).


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prescription opiate abuse has reached epidemic levels. Abuse of opiate-based prescription narcotics often leads to more dangerous drugs, namely heroin. These painkillers contain the same active ingredient as heroin, and many heroin addicts begin as recreational prescription opiate users.

therapeutic session with psychologist

12 million Americans used opiate-based prescription narcotics for non-medical purposes in 2010 per the CDC. Unfortunately, this number continues to rise dramatically and is expected to increase in the coming years. With the rise in opioid drug abuse has come an alarming increase

in the number of overdose deaths. Opiate-based prescription drugs now account for more deaths than heroin and cocaine combined.” (Abuse, 2022)


Signs of Opiate Dependence

  • A strong desire or sense of compulsion to ingest the drug
  • Difficulty controlling drug-taking behavior in terms of its onset, termination, or levels of use
  • A physiological withdrawal state when drug use is stopped or reduced, as evidenced by: the characteristic withdrawal syndrome for the substance (withdrawals); or use of the same (or a closely related) substance to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms (stopping use by substituting with another opiate-based substance)
  • Growing tolerant to the point that increased doses of the drug are required to achieve effects originally produced by lower doses
  • Progressive neglect of alternative pleasures, activities, or interests because of drug use
  • An increased amount of time necessary to obtain or take the drug or to recover from its effects
  • Persisting with drug use despite clear evidence of overtly harmful consequences, such as harm to the liver, depressive mood states, or impairment of cognitive functioning/thought processes


Physical Symptoms of Opiate Withdrawal

  • Itching, excessive scratching
  • Tremors
  • General flulike symptoms
  • Cramps
  • Muscle pain, bone pain
  • Chills
  • Perspiration (sweating)
  • Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
  • Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)
  • Rhinitis (runny, inflamed nose)
  • Sneezing
  • Vomiting, diarrhea
  • Generalized weakness
  • Akathisia (a highly uncomfortable inner restlessness)
  • Priapism


Psychological Symptoms of Opiate Withdrawal

  • Dysphoria (feeling unwell or unhappy; a feeling of emotional and mental discomfort as a symptom of discontentment)
  • Malaise (general feeling of discomfort, uneasiness)
  • Cravings
  • Anxiety, panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Depression



For some people with opioid use disorder (the new terminology instead of addiction), the beginning of treatment is detoxification — controlled and medically supervised withdrawal from the drug. (By itself, this is not a solution, because most people with opioid use disorder resume taking the drug unless they get further help.) The withdrawal symptoms — agitation; anxiety; tremors; muscle aches; hot and cold flashes; sometimes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea — are not life-threatening, but are extremely uncomfortable. The intensity of the reaction depends on the dose and speed of withdrawal. Short-acting opiates, like heroin, tend to produce more intense but briefer symptoms.

No single approach to detoxification is guaranteed to work well for all patients. Many regular heroin users are switched to the synthetic opiate methadone, a longer-acting drug that can be taken orally or injected. Then the dose is gradually reduced over about a week. The anti-hypertensive (blood pressure lowering) drug clonidine is sometimes added to shorten the withdrawal time and relieve physical symptoms.

How Not To Enable an Opiate Addict

Signs of Enabling an Opiate-Addicted Son or Daughter

Most people are great at providing advice when the guidance does not involve their children. For parents whose son or daughter is struggling with addiction, the suggestions are often hard to hear and even more difficult to follow. The methods for holding an addict accountable go against just about every parental instinct. It is almost an instinctive reaction to enable your child whether they have an addiction problem or not.


The difference appears to be when your enabling was helping or protecting your child versus now when your enabling is causing them harm. There was a time when saying no was in their best interest. The question you have to ask yourself is why is it so hard to say no now?


More Signs of Enabling an Opiate Addict

There are always the obvious enabling behaviors that we know we should not be doing. These include giving money to support a habit, placating or excusing poor behavior, and using alcohol or drugs with someone who is addicted. Beyond these, there are less obvious and equally destructive enabling behaviors that parents often engage in with their children.


These include:

  •  Acting out of Fear: Many family members believe their enabling is keeping their child alive. It is often thought that if they did not provide comfort then their loved one would become worse or even die. This fear comes from two places. First the addict or alcoholic makes the family believe this over time. The second comes from families coming to believe they are now the substance user’s caretaker and have a purpose in tending to their needs. The family believes their son or daughter has become incapable of taking care of themselves.
  • Enabling Through Guilt and Shame: Guilt is the feeling you did something wrong and shame is the feeling that you’re a bad person or parent. Addicts have a 6th sense when it comes to preying on one’s emotions and vulnerabilities. Although nobody has the power to make you feel a certain way, the verbal assaults from the substance user can make a parent feel as though they have failed. It is very common for parents of addicts and alcoholics to believe their only recourse is to enable and make their loved ones feel better. Using past wrongs done by family to the substance user and telling their parents they are this way because of them become commonplace weapons.


Families may also protect the image of the substance user to avoid the shame of others knowing their son or daughter has a drug problem. If others find out, what will they think of our family? Trust us when we tell you this, everyone already knows and you’re not hiding anything by enabling in an attempt to hide the guilt and shame of your family problems.


  • Playing the Victim Card: Two can play this game. The addict plays the victim card to gain sympathy and empathy. Family does the same thing, it’s called being a martyr. What is interesting is both the victim substance user and the martyr family member scream for help and when help is offered they both decline it. It is as if they are both equally addicted to being victims as they are being substance users and martyr codependents. Everyone has problems and just about every problem has a solution. For a substance user and a martyr, this solution often includes remaining a victim. This allows justification to continue the behaviors.
  • Hoping and not Acting: With addicted family members hope is often an illusion. It becomes a psychological justification to make one temporarily feel better. Hope is a good thing once or twice. When you continue to use hope as a coping mechanism to pretend things will get better while exercising the option of inaction, nothing changes. 

Hope is relying on someone to change or for something else to happen. Families of addicts and alcoholics are allowed to take action and change their behaviors by starting their recovery programs. This can encourage or expedite something else to happen with the addict. When you look at every form of enabling you’ll realize it is never about comforting the substance user. It is always about comforting the enabler. It is of our professional opinion that codependency and enabling should be classified as a process addiction. A process addiction is a behavioral addiction. Like a substance use disorder, a process addiction is when someone continues a behavior despite the continued negative consequences it has on themselves and others.


Consequences of Enabling

For every action, there is a reaction. For enablers, the reaction can be viewed as the law of unintended consequences.


Before looking at the consequences, it would be helpful to understand the following:


For a substance user to move through the stages of change we must seek to remove any system or thing that allows a substance user to avoid uncomfortable feelings and situations; to provide a recovery plan that holds them accountable and responsible, and helps them healthily face uncomfortable life situations on their own.


Notice that no mention of drugs or alcohol is made in the statement above. That is odd, you may say. Why would that be? Isn’t intervention and addiction recovery really about drugs and alcohol? It is helpful to remember that the substance user’s drug use is but a symptom of an underlying problem. The underlying problem is overcoming the substance user’s avoidance of uncomfortable feelings, things, and situations. The solution is giving the substance user the ability to face uncomfortable life situations and feelings without avoiding them by using drugs, alcohol, or other means. The danger lies in doing an intervention or approaching the problem with the misconception that it is all about substance abuse. The problem is, and always has been, about the user avoiding uncomfortable feelings, things, and situations.


It would be safe to say the consequences of enabling is that it disables the substance user’s ability to address the real problem. Furthermore, it allows the substance to be fed one of their underlying motivations of avoiding discomfort.

Families are repeatedly told what the consequences of enabling are doing for the substance user. It would be very therapeutic for the enabler to look at the consequences to themselves if they were to stop enabling. This can help them understand that the enabling was for them and not the substance user.


An addict very rarely has the resources or ability to continue substance abuse without help from an outside source, individual, or group.


Does Your Loved One Have a Problem with an Opiate or Fentanyl Addiction in Vancouver, British Columbia?


We can help.


At Andy Bhatti Interventions & Addiction Services, we look beyond the obvious and common enabling behaviors. We are not interested in telling you what you already know and why you should stop. Through our intervention process, we seek to help you understand the why. Most intervention companies send out people in recovery who seek to state the obvious and then talk your loved ones into treatment. They often suggest not to enable your loved ones anymore because they will never quit; that is obvious. We must dig deeper to help the family understand why they were enabling and what comfort it was bringing them in doing it.

intervention for fentanyl bc

Anyone can sit you down and tell you what you’re doing wrong. A real professional helps you understand why you’re doing things the way you are and helps you see the upside and downside of changing or not changing your behavioral patterns. We have to get away from believing interventions and change come from simply talking your loved one into a treatment center. The real change happens when the substance user recognizes why they used substances and when the family understands why they enabled them to do nothing about it.


How can we help?

Are you thinking about planning an intervention for a loved one, and are wondering how it would happen? Maybe you’re at a loss, and don’t know what to do anymore? We can help you. Andy Bhatti Intervention & Addiction Services has been arranging and leading interventions for opiate addiction in Vancouver, British Columbia for over a decade. Our Vancouver intervention company has a 98% success rate in helping your loved one get into a drug or alcohol treatment center.

We wrote this post describing the process of creating a successful intervention called 


This will help guide you through the process, and why it is often preferable to have a professional like Andy Bhatti conduct the intervention.



We have conducted hundreds of successful interventions in Vancouver, British Columbia. If your loved one is struggling with an opiate or fentanyl addiction please have a read, and if you are seeing some of the signs and symptoms of opiate dependence or can relate to the section on enabling an opiate addict, you, and your family members can have relief from the suffering. We’re here to help. It’s what we do.


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Abuse, N. I. on D. (2022). NIDA.NIH.GOV | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). National Institute on Drug Abuse.