Both applauded and criticized throughout its run, “Intervention” focuses on the many costs — social as well as economic — of drug addiction, alcoholism and other compulsive behaviors. Each episode follows an addict through his or her daily life, showing the ways in which everything is falling apart. Before the end of the episode, family and friends of the addict stage a surprise intervention with the help of one of the show’s resident specialists.
The hope is that these interventions will push the addict into getting the help he or she needs to get better.
Although “Intervention” won the Emmy for Outstanding Reality Series in 2009, critics have argued that the show is exploitative and overly simplifies the recovery process. Additionally, worries have arisen about addicts who relapse or die as a result of their addictions — four of those profiled have since died as a result of their addictions. Those who approve of the show point out that this is a small percentage of a high-risk group.