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Does Colorado Have Involuntary Rehab?

by Demarco Moore

July 24, 2023
a colorado judge sentences a man to involuntary rehab to treat his substance abuse problems

Yes, Colorado does have laws that allow people with drug, alcohol, or mental health issues to be court-ordered into rehab even if they don’t want to go. If you’re worried about someone you care about, or if you’re struggling with substance abuse yourself, Colorado law can step in to help. This blog explains how these laws work.

Key points to remember:

  • Colorado does allow involuntary rehab for drug and alcohol addiction.
  • Family members, close friends, and medical staff can ask for involuntary rehab to be started.
  • An “emergency commitment” can help if there’s an immediate danger.
  • You can find all the forms needed to start the process on the Colorado Behavioral Health Administration website.
  • Local rehab centers like Landmark Recovery of Denver provide custom treatment plans to help people battling addiction and their families start the recovery journey.

What is Involuntary Rehab?

Involuntary rehab, often called court-ordered rehab, comes into play when a person’s substance abuse problem is so severe that it risks their well-being and those around them. In these cases, Colorado law allows people who care about them – like family members, loved ones, or legal representatives – to step in and help them get the treatment they need.

Colorado’s Involuntary Rehab Law: An Overview

At the heart of Colorado’s approach to involuntary rehab is Senate Bill 20-007. This law creates a legal framework for someone to be ordered into treatment for substance abuse. While the full bill is accessible via pdf, here’s a simplified rundown:

  • The bill allows someone to be involuntarily committed to a substance abuse treatment program if they pose a danger to themselves or others due to their addiction.
  • It allows for involuntary commitment on an emergency basis and longer-term treatment.
  • It establishes the legal process, including who can start it, what proof they must provide, and how the court decides.

Remember, this is a civil process, not a criminal one. The goal is to ensure the person gets the help they need, not to punish them. Colorado’s BHA has forms and paperwork that outline the whole process.

The Involuntary Commitment Process in Colorado

Obtaining involuntary commitment for a loved one is a significant and often emotionally challenging decision. It involves submitting an application to the court, detailing why the person requires treatment, and presenting evidence of the substance use disorder. It’s crucial to note that involuntary commitment goes through the civil courts and is thus considered a civil commitment.

Who Can Start the Involuntary Rehab Process in Colorado?

If your loved one is struggling with substance abuse, it’s not just doctors or law enforcement officers who can step in. You can also start this process as a concerned family member, friend, or spouse.

Here are the key requirements you need to meet, as per Colorado BHA:

  • You must be 18 years old or older.
  • You must have direct or first-hand knowledge of the person’s substance abuse.
  • You can’t have any pending legal or civil issues with the person. For example, if you’re in the middle of a divorce or custody battle, you wouldn’t be able to petition for your spouse. You’d need to find someone else who knows about substance use to do it.
  • You haven’t used drugs or alcohol with the person you’re trying to help.

Meeting these requirements ensures that you, as the petitioner, don’t have legal or personal substance use problems influencing your decision-making. BHA has emergency and involuntary commitment forms and paperwork available for residents.

What’s an ‘Emergency Commitment’ All About?

Sometimes, a person’s struggle with drugs or alcohol becomes an immediate crisis. Colorado law has a solution in these difficult moments: the “emergency commitment.” This is a rapid response to protect everyone involved and keep the situation from worsening.

Here’s the breakdown in simple terms:

  • If someone is 18 or older and has seen the dangerous behavior, they can fill out an “Application for Emergency Commitment.” The form requires you to explain why you believe the person you’re concerned about is under the influence and poses a danger to themselves or others.
  • If a detox center like Landmark Recovery of Denver agrees with the reasons given, the person can be kept there for up to five days for treatment and evaluation. But knowing they could leave earlier if the center feels ready and refers them to voluntary treatment is important.
  • If the detox center disagrees with the reasons, they won’t keep the person there against their will. Instead, they’ll encourage the person to seek treatment voluntarily.

Colorado’s emergency commitment offers a quick, protective step to help keep everyone safe. For more details, contact a medical detox center near you.

Colorado Alcohol and Drug Treatment Programs Tailored to Your Needs

Located in Aurora, Colorado, Landmark Recovery of Denver is a beacon of hope for individuals and their families grappling with substance addiction. Our rehab center is not a one-size-fits-all; we know each person’s journey is unique, and so should their treatment. From the first step of detox to residential treatment and outpatient rehab, our dedicated team of experts is here to walk alongside you every step of the way.

Here for You, Anytime You Need Us

Feeling overwhelmed? Uncertain where to turn? We’re here to help, no matter the time of day. Our confidential admissions phone line is always open. Call 720-702-9994 today to talk to our Patient Navigators, who can share more about our different programs, including how we can support involuntary rehab.

Keep Learning

Check out some of our other blogs, filled with useful insights to help you along the way.

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About the Author

Demarco Moore

Demarco Moore

A graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, Demarco Moore currently writes blogs about drug addiction treatment and recovery to help save lives at treatment provider Landmark Recovery. Before that, he cut his teeth as a sports writer at the Manchester Times, where his coverage and stories won Tennessee Press Association awards in 2016 and 2017.

He’s always had a knack for storytelling. Moore’s written content for junior golf tournaments and helped to amplify the “People Not Profits” message of credit unions. When he’s not writing, Moore loves to travel, laugh and put his mental health into the hands of the Tennessee Titans during football season.