It has been alleged that Prince’s family may have known about his drug use and abuse for years. According to a CNN report, two of Prince’s deceased siblings knew as far back as 2006 of his reliance on Percocet. The question becomes could Prince’s family members, managers, bodyguards, entertainment lawyers, personal assistants and so forth, have done anything to help him seek treatment for his chronic pain and subsequent substance abuse disorder.

The answer is unequivocally, yes.  The feasibility of them doing so depends on:

1.       The use of prescription drugs reaching disproportional amounts

2.       Observable signs of use and misuse

3.       Witnessing first-hand the negative consequences of his drug usage

4.       Understanding that addiction is a disease

5.       Not being afraid of losing money, job opportunities, or other benefits by speaking up

When someone experiences a substance abuse problem, it is important that family members, friends, or other people providing support reach out to a professional to help guide them through the process of inviting someone to change.  Many of the well-meaning folks may have attempted to talk with Prince on a one-on-one fashion about cutting down or stopping the use.  However, it appears that no one was versed in the complexities of a substance abuse disorder or in the necessary intervention strategies. Talking to someone in the throes of active addiction often does nothing but infuriate the person confronting their loved one.

Interventions – when properly conducted with experienced professionals – can and do work. I specialize in invitational interventions, which are a highly systematic process that helps everyone involved accept that the person they love and value has a serious problem.  In its clearest form, an intervention then becomes an invitation for your loved one to find solutions for their substance abuse and or mental health problems, seek treatment, and discover new ways of living. If those close to Prince had reached out for the help of a professional, they may have been able to intervene sooner.

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