Yes, it is possible to force someone to go to rehab in some cases. Many states have enacted involuntary commitment laws for substance use, which allow for an individual to be ordered into treatment for substance use
But remember, if someone is under 18, they can’t be forced into rehab. A report published in 2022 found that 11.7% of Americans who take drugs illegally are 12. And before that, in 2021 a report claimed that 20.4 million Americans suffered from a substance use disorder.
From these statistics, you can easily understand how important the intervention of this discussion has become for the government and the people around it. Read the entire blog to learn more about how rehab can be used and what steps can be taken to reduce this addiction rate.
Can You Force Someone Into Rehab?
In some states, yes.
In other states, no.
It depends on the state and the individual’s circumstances.
If someone is under 18 and is a drug addict, you can force them into rehab. But there are differences for adults. Because they’re legally adults, forcing them into goes against the rehab law. In that case, you will have to ensure a court order.
But in that case, you have to prove that they are addicted, they have harmed themself or someone else or taken the step of killing, and they are unable to pay their support or livelihood because of addiction. If you can prove that, then you can force them to go to rehab.
But what if they are addicted, and not nonviolent? In that case, local drug courts can help. They counsel and guide the addict without any strict accountability. Now 37 states have involuntary commitment laws for substance use disorders (SUDs).
However, there are slight differences in laws from state to state. States include Alaska, California, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and many more. And Vermont committed to joining the list a few months ago.
What states can you force someone into rehab?
Alaska, California, Colorado, Columbia, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin – these states have written law to forced rehab.
And currently, they’re talking about New Jersey, Alabama, and Maryland to add to the list.
Understanding Involuntary Commitment for Rehab
Here, a judge and court send an addict to rehab, willingly or unwillingly, for treatment. Involuntary drug rehab works both ways-
To protect the addict from harming themself or others. On the other hand, by protecting others, they should not be harmed by addicts.
It does not cause any harm to an addict and preserves their rights. In other ways, keep public safety in mind by protecting the general. However, the objection of many is that the principle of beneficence is undermined by involuntary commitment. But on the contrary, some experts say that involuntary commitment laws are working for both the individual and the general public.
Involuntary Commitment Laws and Processes
The terms and conditions may vary from state to state. Here are some glimpse of these-
Marchman Act (Florida)
It is also known as the Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act and was passed in 1993. It helps those who have substance use disorders (SUDs) and helps them to get a normal life with involuntary commitment. Here one may get forced rehab only when 3 adults complain against them with proper evidence.
It is similar to Connecticut, South Carolina, Georgia, California, and Texas laws.
Casey’s Law (Kentucky)
It deals with those who try to overcome addiction but are unable to do so. It allows the parent of the addict to petition the court for an involuntary commitment order. It’s a kind of family-helping law that helps another family member to get a normal life.
Ricky’s Law (Washington)
The law is shaped by RCW 71.05. 360 and 71.05. 217. It’s a less restrictive treatment form. It’s applicable for SUDs and mental health disorders.
Substance Use Emergency Commitment (Colorado)
It’s a civil commitment and runs with the civil court. It’s the last option when no other treatment or option is available. One may need to go to custody for up to 270 days of Behavioral Health Administration (BHA). Then to the rehab for the last option.
Massachusetts General Law Chapter 123, Section 35
Massachusetts General Law Chapter 123, Section 35, also known as the Section 35 process, is a law that enables a qualified individual to get a court order treatment for a substance abuse disorder involuntary and legally committed.
The Section 35 procedure should only be utilized as a last option because it is a severe subject. You ought to consult a lawyer to go through your choices if you’re thinking about submitting a Section 35 complaint.
Steps involved in the process of involuntary commitment
The steps may vary from state to state as the rules and policies are not the same for all. But some steps might be similar for maximum states. The steps can be-
- Search the criteria for involuntary commitment. And compare is your one suits here.
- Gather evidence to make the point strong and visible.
- File a petition after gathering evidence for involuntary commitment.
- Once the petition has been filed, the court will hold a hearing to determine whether the individual should be involuntarily committed.
- Let the judge make the decision.
- Get admission to the rehab after hearing as soon as possible.
- If needed, speak with an attorney to discuss your options and to ensure that you are following the correct legal procedures.
Scope and Limitations of Involuntary Commitment
The act of forcing someone without your wishes into rehab is known as involuntary commitment. Only if someone is deemed to pose a risk to oneself or others is this extreme step undertaken. From the region to the federal level, involuntary commitment might take many scopes.
Still, if you meet specific requirements, for example, those listed below, then are usually confined involuntarily-
- You present a risk to both yourself and outsiders.
- Due to your severe disabilities, individuals are unable to meet your basic requirements for clothing, nutrition, and housing.
- You cannot make informed choices regarding your psychological care.
On the other hand, Several limitations apply to involuntary commitment. It can only be resorted to in extreme cases. It is necessary to try outpatient therapy or voluntary treatment first if there is any alternative, less constrictive choices available. Involuntary commitment is a short-term solution.
The subject must undergo ongoing evaluations to see if you continue to fulfill the requirements for involuntary custody. Only a judge has the authority to order an involuntary commitment. A physician or other mental health expert cannot unilaterally commit someone against their will.
Effectiveness and Controversies of Involuntary Commitment
Forced drug rehab helps to bring an addict back to normal life. There are a lot of effects of involuntary commitment including saving the addict from being arrested, reducing hospital relapse, and many more. The commitment should be inpatient and outpatient. Those effects reduce the rate of mental health illness, allowing the addict to make their own decision and many more.
On the other hand, there are some controversies too. That may include the misconception about timing, the place, the process of the treatment, and many more.
Seeking Help: Encouraging Treatment and Support
You can’t always force someone to go to rehab. It’s against rehab laws. So, you need to encourage the addict as well as support them to have treatment. One can be sent to forced rehab with the help of involuntary commitment. But for that, you need to make sure that they are adult enough, or they harm themself or others, they may not maintain their livelihood and others.
On the other hand, you need to encourage them to communicate with you or loved ones that can be friends and family. It helps to make the right decision for the betterment. Not only that but also ask them to communicate with professionals and addiction specialists. They may give the addict proper guidelines for the further process. As well they may support the initial treatments or therapies too.
People Also Asked
Can you force someone into rehab for alcohol?
Yes, you can force someone into rehab for alcohol.
If the addict is below 12 then you can easily force them to go to rehab. But if they are adults with the age of 18 or above, then there are some limitations while forcing them. You can’t directly force them but need a court order. There you need to complain with enough evidence that they harm you, themself, or any other public property. If the court permits involuntary commitment, then the addict may be sent to rehab.
Can a rehab center keep you against your will?
No, a rehab center can’t keep you against your will.
There are a few exceptions, though. In the case of a minor, your parents might be able to compel you to rehab. If you commit a risk to yourself or others it may also cause forced rehab under involuntary commitment laws. You should speak with the mental health department in your area if you believe you are being squeezed into treatment against your will. They can assist you with other legal options.
Can a drug addict be declared mentally incompetent?
No, without any valid proof a drug addict can’t be declared mentally incompetent.
Mentally incompetent depends on the severity of the drug addiction. It means the addict isn’t taking their own decision any more. If they behave like this and you have enough evidence of this, only then can a drug addict be declared mentally incompetent.
How to force someone to go to rehab?
With the help of involuntary commitment law, it’s possible to force someone to go to rehab.
You can force yourself if the addict is below 18 but it won’t be applicable for those who are above 18. For that reason gather evidence against them as they are violent, harm themself or others, can’t maintain their livelihood and others. After your complaint with the evidence to the local mental health department, they may justify the allegations. And if it turns out to be true then the addict can be forced to involuntary drug rehab.
Can you force someone into rehab in Florida?
Yes, you can’t force someone into rehab in Florida.
Under the Marchman Act, an adult in Florida may be involuntarily admitted to rehab for the treatment of substance misuse. A civil law known as the Marchman Act permits the involuntary commitment of individuals who take drugs and satisfy specific requirements, such as having lost their ability to regulate their behavior and posing a threat to both themselves and society.
Can you involuntarily admit someone to a mental health facility?
Yes, you can involuntarily admit someone to a mental health facility.
State-specific requirements for involuntary admittance might vary, but they often include being a risk to themselves or others, being unable of caring for their own, and being incapable of making informed decisions about the treatment.
If you want to help your loved ones speak to them directly to go to rehab for the betterment. And Involuntary Commitment can also be a good option but not the best one. After reading the above writing it can be said that there are still some limitations available for it.
So, it’s better to speak with the professionals and explore other options. There are a lot of options available to help an addict.