Alcohol and drug addiction affect millions of people in the United States. Not only does addiction hurt the person who is using the substance, but it has an impact on their family, community, and the country at large.

While some people decide to seek treatment on their own, others refuse to do so even though addiction is wreaking havoc in their lives. Many get into legal trouble because of their addiction and their sentence includes court-ordered rehab.

The court can also order an individual to attend treatment because their family sought an emergency order. In this article, we’ll discuss both routes to court-ordered rehab and how the system operates.

Court-Ordered Rehab Resulting from Criminal Cases

Court-Ordered Rehab Resulting from Criminal Cases

People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol often do things that seem at odds with their personality and previous behavior. They may steal to get money for drugs or act violently when under the influence.

That’s because people who are experiencing intense cravings or painful withdrawal symptoms will do anything to get a fix. They may get away with criminal actions a time or two but eventually, they will likely be arrested and they will have to face court.

If the crime was non-violent, judges usually have the option of ordering the person to attend rehab rather than sending them to jail. This is especially likely if this is their first time committing a crime.

Court-Ordered Rehab Resulting from an Emergency Order

It is incredibly difficult for families to stand by and watch their loved ones struggle with addiction.  Usually, they recommend that the individual seeks professional help.

Unfortunately, sometimes their pleas fall on deaf ears and they know it is only a matter of time before the individual commits a crime or worse, loses their life. People who are caught in a cycle of addiction often find it hard to admit that they need help.

In some cases, families can petition the court to order the person to enter rehab. Many people may have heard about the Marchman Act or the Baker Act which are Florida Laws.

What is the Marchman Act?

The Marchman Act or the Substance Abuse Impairment Act covers both voluntary and involuntary treatment for substance abuse disorders. It allows for emergency intervention for people struggling with addiction.

If relatives believe that the person poses a danger to themselves or others and they’re not in control of their own actions, they can petition that they be assessed.

The court will consider the evidence presented at a hearing to determine whether the person should be involuntarily evaluated. If it is determined that the individual needs to be admitted to rehab, the judge can order this for up to 60 days.

The Marchman Act is sometimes confused with the Baker Act. What is the Baker Act? Also known as the Florida Mental Health Act of 1971, it enables families to seek emergency mental health services and temporary detention for people who are impaired because of mental illness, and incapable of determining their treatment needs.

It also provides for involuntary assessment and commitment. It can be used when substance use is endangering an individual’s life.

Involuntary Commitment in Colorado

Many states have similar  laws that govern involuntary commitment for people struggling with mental heal or substance abuse issues. In Colorado, an individual can be committed to substance use treatment as a last resort. Involuntary commitment is reserved for people who:

  • Refuse all types of voluntary treatment
  • Are an imminent risk to themselves or others specifically because of their substance abuse
  • Are psychiatrically stable (since this law doesn’t cover the involuntary administration of medication)
  • Are sufficiently medically stable to enter a licensed detox center
  • Are likely to benefit from substance abuse treatment once sober

Involuntary Commitment in Arizona

The criteria for involuntary commitment in Arizona are a little different and the laws don’t speak specifically to substance abuse. In this state, involuntary treatment can be ordered on either an emergency or a non-emergency basis.

If the individual has a history of behavior that requires psychiatric attention but they don’t want treatment and there is no immediate danger, this is considered a non-emergency.

The emergency process applies if there is an immediate danger that the individual will harm themselves or others because they have a psychiatric condition. The person must either refuse to get help or be unable to make that decision for themselves. 

A person who is being considered for involuntary psychiatric treatment may also have substance abuse issues. This may make the process more complex but it doesn’t prevent the person from being evaluated.

How Long is Court-Ordered Treatment?

How Long is Court-Ordered Treatment

It is impossible to predict how long a person will stay in rehab. There are limits on how long the court can order a person to stay in rehab facility, but each case is decided on its own merits.

After the individual goes through detox and starts to maintain their sobriety, the treatment team will have a better idea of the type of treatment they need. The person is also likely to be in a frame of mind that allows them to make rational decisions about their care. 

People usually spend an average of 28 days inpatient treatment. However, some people need 60 to 90 days of the most intensive treatment before they can step down to a partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient care.

People with substance abuse problems benefit from long-term therapy well after they leave the court-ordered portion of their treatment.

Does Court Ordered Rehab Work?

If you have a spouse, child, or close relative who has refused to seek treatment for their addiction, you may be skeptical about the effectiveness of court-ordered rehab.

It is often said that a person can’t be helped unless they want that help. However, research shows that voluntary and involuntary admission tend to have roughly the same outcomes.

A person may be adamant that they don’t want treatment but once they go through medically-assisted detox, they may see things in a different way.

While detoxing at home is often accompanied by highly uncomfortable symptoms, medical detox is safer and a lot more manageable. When the body is free of addictive substances, the individual may be more willing to participate in rehab especially if it’s an alternative to jail time.

Who Pays for Court-Ordered Rehab?

Even though the court orders a person to enter rehab, the state doesn’t pay or arrange for financing. If the individual has private insurance, this will likely cover at least part of their treatment.

Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurance policies must cover mental health conditions including treatment for drug or alcohol dependency. Government plans such as Medicaid and Medicare also cover addiction treatment.

Treatment centers usually work with individuals and their spouses or relatives to verify their insurance and arrange for the payment of any out-of-pocket costs.

Different rehab facilities will offer different options so you should never let the cost of rehab prevent you from seeking help for a loved one who desperately needs it. Simply call up a treatment facility and talk to the admissions staff and counselors about the available options.

Things to Keep in Mind If You Want Your Loved One Ordered into Care

Things to Keep in Mind If You Want Your Loved One Ordered into Care

Even though you can ask the court to order a person into treatment for substance abuse or other mental health disorders, it’s not always easy. The legal process often isn’t straightforward and you’ll have to present evidence that involuntary commitment is the only option left.

You may have to show that the individual is a danger to themselves or others or so debilitated by their addiction that they can no longer care for themselves. Sometimes evidence of violent behavior is needed.

Keep in mind that the person you are trying to help also has the right to an attorney and they may fight the order to have them committed. That’s why many families who want to go this route usually seek advice from an attorney.

Get Help from Pathfinders Recovery Center

In an ideal world, everyone struggling with addiction would voluntarily seek treatment at the earliest opportunity. Unfortunately, the reality is that court-ordered rehab is the only thing that works for some people.

Whether your loved one committed a crime or you believe they’re a danger to themselves or others, you need to know that court-ordered treatment can be just as effective as voluntary treatment. 

Furthermore, the laws that allow for involuntary treatment also protect the rights of the individual so there is no need to fear. Multiple professionals are involved in the process including medical and legal experts and the sole aim is to get your loved one the help they need.

Untreated addiction does not get better over time. Addiction is a progressive disease and it gets worse without professional intervention. The good news is that everyone is capable of overcoming drug or alcohol addiction with the right help and some intrinsic motivation.

If you are looking for treatment centers that admit court-ordered clients in Colorado or Arizona, contact Pathfinders Recovery Center.

Our luxury treatment facilities are staffed by experienced professionals who can help your loved one take control of their life again. Contact us today for insurance verification or information about the services we offer.


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