If you have a loved one who continues to struggle with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, despite your attempts to get them to realize how dangerous it is, know that you’re not alone. It’s a tough spot to be in for sure. You want them to reach out for help, but they don’t even think they have a problem. Or, they know they do, but they aren’t willing to do what it takes to seek treatment. We understand that this can be disheartening.
This is one reason court-ordered rehabs are needed. More than half of people who are arrested on charges for crimes in the U.S. have either drank alcohol or used drugs. About the same rate of inmates’ in jail or prison struggle with addiction, according to The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). It’s no secret that alcohol and drugs play a big role in crime.
Court-ordered rehabs are mandated treatment programs that a judge orders for an individual who is struggling with alcohol or drug addiction and has committed a crime.
Many people enter an addiction recovery program because of their troubles with the law. Sometimes the court will make it mandatory that you enter a rehab or recovery program if you’ve committed a crime. The judge may also make this optional or voluntary, giving you a choice.
If it’s a court-ordered rehab, you may have to fulfill this as part of your probation or while you wait for your trial. Regardless, if it’s mandatory, you must go. The good news is that even if you don’t really want to go to rehab, but you have to because it’s court-ordered, you can still benefit from doing so. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that the rate of recovery for those who were ordered by the court to attend rehab is just about as high as those who voluntarily attend.
One thing that’s really beneficial when it comes to court-ordered rehab is that it’s often used in the place of sending someone off to jail or prison. This gives you an opportunity to receive treatment for the disease of addiction rather than just face the consequences for a crime and not receive any treatment.
If you’ve received a court order for treatment, you may receive a variety of services. You may go through a detox program where you will be given time to get through withdrawal symptoms. You’ll be under the care of a physician and addiction specialist to watch for dangerous symptoms. You may also be given medication to help reduce the uncomfortable period.
In addition to detox, you may be provided with individual and group counseling, attend addiction and recovery classes, attend support groups, and undergo an assessment for any mental health disorders. You can usually choose from a residential or outpatient treatment program. This will depend on how severe your addiction is and your ability to pay.
From treatment, you might have to look for a sober living program and live there for a while to make the transition back home easier. This may or may not be part of your mandated rehab order.
Many people who abuse alcohol or drugs don’t necessarily realize they are addicted and have a problem. They may be in denial despite the adverse consequences that are going on in their lives. They may need professional help, as the expertise can be very helpful in treating addiction, but they refuse to seek it.
As a loved one, you may wonder if you can commit them to rehab after court. Or, you may be considering how you can get the judge to issue them a court order to attend rehab. You’re concerned, and you believe they need professional treatment to address their addiction. They refuse to listen to you and take action, so you wonder about involuntary commitment to rehab.
If your loved one is under age 18, the legal guardian may be able to make this kind of decision. If you feel they would participate in the program, this may be the way to go.
If your loved one is older than 18, most states don’t allow an involuntary commitment. They simply can’t be forced into treatment by a loved one. However, most states do have the right to sentence someone to a treatment program if they have committed a crime and have a drug or alcohol addiction.
The only way you may have someone involuntarily committed in some states is if they are a danger to themselves or others. This is more of a mental health issue as opposed to an addiction issue. You may have heard this referred to as the Baker Act, Casey’s Law, or a 72-hour hold. This allows a judge to commit someone to a mental health treatment center if the person is thought to be struggling with an addiction and poses a threat to themselves or another person.
There is another act called The Marchman Act, and it came about primarily because of the opioid epidemic. This law allows police and family members to commit someone to rehab involuntarily if they are a danger to self or others. This isn’t active in each state yet, but many states are working on getting it approved.
These types of laws allow loved ones to petition the court for treatment for their loved one that does not realize how deep they are in addiction. As of 2017, the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws says that 37 states have laws that allow a loved one with substance abuse disorder to be detained involuntarily for a short time. As mentioned before, the requirement is that the person is thought to be a threat to themselves or others.
Each state may vary when it comes to how long someone must remain in court-ordered rehab. It will also depend on what the terms of the court order are. Granted, even those who involuntarily attend treatment on a court order, they can still walk out of the rehab’s doors if they choose. The only thing is that they will be held in contempt of court if they do.
If you’re interested in pursuing court-ordered treatment for your loved one, know that it’s not always an easy process. Of course, this requires that you let authorities know about your loved one’s addiction, something that can cause your loved one to get very angry with you. You’ll want to touch base with your local legal authorities to be sure they are in agreement with you concerning the court order. Your ability to get this granted will depend on what state you live in.
You can also go the route of an emergency order from the courts for an involuntary rehab stay. Your loved one will need an assessment from a mental health professional and a police officer. Your loved one will have more priority if they are a danger to themselves and others due to their alcohol or drug addiction.
Essentially, if you want to try to get your loved one committed to a rehab, you’ll have to fill out a form and give your reasons why. Then, you’ll submit this to a judge, and hopefully, be granted a hearing. At the hearing, you get to plead your case.
If your loved one is granted a court-ordered rehab, keep the following factors in mind if you’re looking for the particular rehab:
Sometimes court-ordered treatment is effective, and sometimes it isn’t. Various factors play into this, such as how motivated the person is to recover. If the person truly does want to experience change, they are likely to do so. However, if they aren’t ready to accept that they have a problem, or simply don’t want to change, they’re not likely to experience it.
If you’d like to learn more about this topic, feel free to give us a call at 855-534-3574. We’d be happy to answer your questions and concerns. Court-ordered treatment may be necessary for your loved one to leave addiction behind. Let’s see if this is a possibility.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide. Retrieved from from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/drug-addiction-treatment-in-united-states/types-treatment-programs
The Daily Beast. New Laws Force Drug Users Into Rehab Against Their Will. Retrieved from from https://www.thedailybeast.com/new-laws-force-drug-users-into-rehab-against-their-will