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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.

A map showing states with involuntary commitment laws

Source: The National Alliance For Model State Drug Laws (NAMSDL)

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.

 

Involuntary Commitment

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:

A graph showing the legal provisions for involuntary commitment for drug and alcohol addiction treatment

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?

 

Alabama

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.

 

Alaska

If a person is deemed a danger to themselves and others, they can be committed to court-ordered treatment in Alaska.

 

Arizona

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.

 

Arkansas

Legislation in Arkansas excludes alcoholism and substance abuse from the umbrella of involuntary commitment.

 

California

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.

 

Colorado

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.

 

Connecticut

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.

 

Delaware

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.

 

Florida

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.

 

Georgia

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.

 

Hawaii

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.

 

Idaho

There’s no specific mention of substance or alcohol use disorder when it comes to involuntary commitment for mental health issues in Idaho.

 

Illinois

Legislation in Illinois excludes substance use disorder from involuntary commitment.

 

Indiana

Involuntarily commitment for treatment is possible providing the person hasn’t been charged for an offense. This will render them ineligible for treatment.

 

Iowa

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.

 

Kansas

A person can apply to have a loved one involuntarily committed for treatment if they are incapacitated and could cause harm to others.

 

Kentucky

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

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.

 

Maine

If a person is substance abuse-impaired, they can be committed involuntarily for treatment in the state of Maine.

 

Maryland

There’s no legislation in place to facilitate involuntary treatment in Maryland.

 

Massachusetts

If someone living in Massachusetts is considered a danger to themselves or others, involuntary treatment is an option.

 

Michigan

Michiganders posing a danger to themselves or others can benefit from mandatory treatment.

 

Minnesota

Minnesota is another state where someone with substance use disorder can be involuntarily treated  if they cause harm to themselves or others.

 

Mississippi

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.

 

Missouri

It’s possible to have someone involuntarily committed to rehab in Missouri.

 

Montana

Laws in Montana do not make provision for involuntary treatment for substance use disorder.

 

Nebraska

Nebraskans considered a danger to themselves or loved ones can be ordered into treatment.

 

Nevada

In Nevada, anyone presenting a danger to themselves or others as a result of SUD can be sent to rehab against their will.

 

New Hampshire

Substance use disorder and alcohol use disorder are excluded from forcible treatment laws in New Hampshire.

 

New Jersey

It’s not possible to initiate court-ordered treatment for alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder in New Jersey.

 

New Mexico

New Mexico is another state that excludes substance use disorder and alcohol use disorder from involuntary treatment legislation.

 

New York

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

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.

 

North Dakota

In North Dakota, the same law applies as long as the person presents a danger to themselves or others.

 

Ohio

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.

 

Oklahoma

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.

 

Oregon

People with substance use disorder are excluded from involuntary commitment in the state of Oregon.

 

Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, involuntary treatment can be initiated of the drinker or drug user poses harm to themselves or others.

 

Rhode Island

Involuntary treatment can be ordered for alcoholism but not substance use disorder.

 

South Carolina

You can apply to have someone committed with an affidavit if they are likely to cause harm to themselves or others.

 

Tennessee

In Tennessee, legislation allows for anyone causing harm to themselves or others to be committed to involuntary treatment.

 

Texas

Texans liable to harm themselves or their loved ones through drink or drug abuse can be ordered into treatment by the court.

 

Utah

Involuntary treatment is not an option in Utah.

 

Vermont

Accompanied by a written recommendation from a physician, involuntary rehab is possible in Vermont.

 

Virginia

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.

 

Washington

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.

 

West Virginia

Although West Virginia has the highest rate of deaths by drug overdose, there’s inadequate access to addiction treatment facilities.

 

Wisconsin

In Wisconsin, someone likely to harm themselves or others can be ordered into treatment.

 

Wyoming

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.

 

About the Author

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Landmark Recovery Staff

This post was written by a Landmark Recovery staff member. If you have any questions, please contact us at 888-448-0302.

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