Despite how hilarious it is with a laugh track, “Intervention” tackles addiction with an unprecedented level of success: of the 161 addicts featured on the show over the last five years, an astounding 130 of them are still sober. In an article for The Daily Beast, the annoyingly talented Natasha Vargas-Cooper (author of The Footnotes of Mad Men and the new book Mad Men Unbuttoned) examines the show’s dedication to recovery:
Take into account the high recidivism of drug offenders going back to jail, the chronic relapsing of people who have passed through state-based rehab programs, and anyone who has dealt with an addict in his or her personal life, the 71 percent recovery rate [sic: it’s 81%] is, by any standard, astonishingly high. It is a number the producers of the show tout, not only because it’s impressive, but because they believe it is accurate. After the participants go through the show and complete rehab, Intervention has a dedicated staff member to do check-ins with participants, put them in touch with other support groups, and send out sobriety birthday cards.
Key aspects of the success rate include a 90-day stay at a rehab facility (instead of the standard 28 days) and the interventionists educating the addicts’ family and friends about how to stop their enabling habits. If you like the show, I strongly recommend the entire article.
What I want to know is how addicts are still falling for the “documentary about addiction” premise that gets them on the show. Really, guys? No one’s picked up on the ruse? Frankly, I expected more from people with inhalant addictions that go through ten cans of computer duster a day.