People with substance use disorder cannot typically receive addiction treatment unless they can demonstrate a voluntary commitment to staying clean.
Medication-assisted treatment is costly, and those with a severe addiction usually need residential rehab to keep them away from the environment that perpetuates their triggers to relapse.
Unfortunately, the majority of people who detox will relapse at least once on the rocky road to recovery. Unsurprisingly, health authorities are often reluctant to fund rehab when there are so many barriers to success.
That said, some people manage to stay clean from drugs even with involuntary addiction treatment. Casey’s Law was passed in Kentucky in 2004 and has saved many lives by allowing the families of those suffering from addiction to initiate court-ordered rehabilitation.
The idea underpinning involuntary treatment is that someone in the grip of any addiction is substance-impaired. This often renders them incapable of seeking help independently. Someone with substance use disorder doesn’t think they need treatment. The need for an addictive drug is all that drives them even as they become increasingly aware of the damage being caused. The vicious cycle continues, often with fatal consequences.
In 37 US states, though, there are laws in place that can facilitate the involuntary rehab of someone struggling with drink or drugs but unwilling to ask for help.
Please note: Some information may contradict the information in the map as laws are fluid. You should contact your local court or healthcare provider if you are unsure of whether you can apply to have your loved one admitted involuntarily.
Every state has civil commitment laws that allow for someone to be admitted involuntarily if they need help with a mental illness. Substance use disorder can be classed as a mental illness on psychiatric assessment.
However, some states exclude this:
Source: Betty Hazelden Ford Clinic
States with and Without Mandatory Addiction Treatment Laws
We’ll give you a nationwide breakdown now by answering a simple question for each state: are there laws in place for the compulsory treatment of substance use disorder?
Drugs and alcohol are excluded from the definition of mental illness in Alabama. There’s no way to force someone to enter rehab in the Yellowhammer State.
If a person is deemed a danger to themselves and others, they can be committed to court-ordered treatment in Alaska.
Mandatory addiction treatment in Arizona requires a written application from a friend, relative, peace officer, or police officer. This is submitted to an evaluation agency for mental illness.
Legislation in Arkansas excludes alcoholism and substance abuse from the umbrella of involuntary commitment.
Anyone in California can apply to have a loved one forced into treatment if they are suffering from alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder if they are a danger to themselves and others.
Individuals who have harmed others or intend to harm others due to alcohol or substance abuse can be involuntarily committed for treatment in Colorado.
They can also be committed if they are incapacitated due to drugs or alcohol.
Individuals who present as a danger to themselves or others can be involuntarily committed for treatment for alcohol or drug abuse.
Applications are made to the probate court.
Anyone can petition to have someone committed to a treatment center in the state of Delaware. They must provide details of the circumstances and their observations.
The Baker Act, or Florida Substance Abuse Impairment Act, allows a friend, relative, or acquaintance to apply to the county court to have someone committed to a treatment center.
This application can be filed independently, through a lawyer, or an intervention counselor.
Florida also has the Marchman Act (the Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act of 1993). This can sometimes be used to force someone impaired by substance use disorder into treatment.
Georgians presenting a danger to themselves or others can be pushed toward rehab.
They must agree to involuntary outpatient treatment. If they don’t, they will be admitted as an inpatient instead.
Family members can apply for involuntary treatment if the person in question poses a danger to themselves and their actions are affecting the family.
Treatment must be paid for so this is not a workable option for everyone.
There’s no specific mention of substance or alcohol use disorder when it comes to involuntary commitment for mental health issues in Idaho.
Legislation in Illinois excludes substance use disorder from involuntary commitment.
Involuntarily commitment for treatment is possible providing the person hasn’t been charged for an offense. This will render them ineligible for treatment.
Anyone in Iowa can apply to the court to have someone committed to treatment if they are substance abuse-impaired and present a danger to themselves or others.
A person can apply to have a loved one involuntarily committed for treatment if they are incapacitated and could cause harm to others.
Casey’s Law, named for Matthew Casey Wethington, was passed in 2004.
A family member or friend can petition the court for involuntary treatment. A physician’s assessment is required.
Once enacted, residential rehab is scheduled. The person faces jail time if they don’t attend as this would be considered contempt of court.
Louisiana is the only state where you have to apply to the coroner to have someone committed for mental illness treatment. If there is no coroner in place, a minister will suffice.
The protective order allows a sheriff or police officer to detain an individual for 72 hours to perform an assessment.
If a person is substance abuse-impaired, they can be committed involuntarily for treatment in the state of Maine.
There’s no legislation in place to facilitate involuntary treatment in Maryland.
If someone living in Massachusetts is considered a danger to themselves or others, involuntary treatment is an option.
Michiganders posing a danger to themselves or others can benefit from mandatory treatment.
Minnesota is another state where someone with substance use disorder can be involuntarily treated if they cause harm to themselves or others.
In Mississippi, it costs $150 to have someone committed for treatment against their will.
Once approved, the judge can order treatment for anywhere from 30 to 90 days.
It’s possible to have someone involuntarily committed to rehab in Missouri.
Laws in Montana do not make provision for involuntary treatment for substance use disorder.
Nebraskans considered a danger to themselves or loved ones can be ordered into treatment.
In Nevada, anyone presenting a danger to themselves or others as a result of SUD can be sent to rehab against their will.
Substance use disorder and alcohol use disorder are excluded from forcible treatment laws in New Hampshire.
It’s not possible to initiate court-ordered treatment for alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder in New Jersey.
New Mexico is another state that excludes substance use disorder and alcohol use disorder from involuntary treatment legislation.
New York has Kendra’s Law in place for involuntary treatment. Unfortunately, this doesn’t cover substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder.
North Carolina residents who a danger to themselves and others as a result of AUD or SUD can be committed to a treatment center for involuntary rehab.
In North Dakota, the same law applies as long as the person presents a danger to themselves or others.
Casey’s Law allows a person to petition the court to have a loved one admitted for involuntary drug treatment.
They must show that the person in question is a danger to themselves or others. There should be evidence that they would benefit from treatment.
Oklahomans who have become a danger to themselves or others as a result of drink or drug abuse can be forced into court-ordered rehab.
People with substance use disorder are excluded from involuntary commitment in the state of Oregon.
In Pennsylvania, involuntary treatment can be initiated of the drinker or drug user poses harm to themselves or others.
Involuntary treatment can be ordered for alcoholism but not substance use disorder.
You can apply to have someone committed with an affidavit if they are likely to cause harm to themselves or others.
In Tennessee, legislation allows for anyone causing harm to themselves or others to be committed to involuntary treatment.
Texans liable to harm themselves or their loved ones through drink or drug abuse can be ordered into treatment by the court.
Involuntary treatment is not an option in Utah.
Accompanied by a written recommendation from a physician, involuntary rehab is possible in Vermont.
In Virginia, there are laws in place for the involuntary treatment of anyone suffering from AUD or SUD as long as they pose a danger to themselves or others.
Ricky Garcia’s Law resulted in 9 dedicated treatment facilities for committing people involuntarily.
Anyone with substance use disorder can be admitted if they pose harm to themselves or others.
Although West Virginia has the highest rate of deaths by drug overdose, there’s inadequate access to addiction treatment facilities.
In Wisconsin, someone likely to harm themselves or others can be ordered into treatment.
In Wyoming, involuntary treatment is possible as long as the individual has not be charged with a criminal offense.
What To Do Next
If you’re concerned about a loved one suffering from alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder, you could arrange for involuntary addiction treatment depending on where you live.
For anyone in any doubt about what to do next, get in touch with our friendly team of experts here at Landmark Recovery. We’ll be happy to help in any way we can so call us today at 888-448-0302.
May 26, 2020
Posted in: Addiction