It’s a valid question: can you put someone in rehab against their will? There are many reasons to be asking this question. After all, people who struggle with substance use often have difficulty recognizing and accepting that a real problem exists, and that professional help is absolutely necessary. An addicted person may know that they have a problem with drug addiction. However, that doesn’t mean they’re willing to accept treatment for it.
Trying to overcome an addiction without help is difficult and nearly impossible for many people. Professional treatment for a substance use disorder (and any other co-occurring mental health concerns) is the most successful way to overcome addiction and experience lasting wellness.
A Terribly Difficult Decision
If someone you care about is in active addiction, chances are that you have been incredibly worried for a long period of time. You (or your whole family) may have debated what to do. Perhaps you have tried persuading your loved one. If you are considering sending him or her to rehab on an involuntary basis, you have probably considered several other options already.
It can be difficult to persuade an addicted person to receive professional treatment if they are unwilling to accept it. In some cases, it may be necessary for family members to send an addicted person to treatment against his or her will.
This is easier if your addicted loved one is under the age of 18 and you are his or her legal guardian. Most states allow custodial parents to make these decisions. The real question is: once your loved one enters treatment, will he or she actually participate, listen, and gain the best out of the experience?
If the addicted person is 18 years of age or older, they are a legal adult and cannot be forced into rehab without a court order.
Can You Put Someone In Rehab Against Their Will? What State Laws Say
In most states, an addicted person must be convicted of some sort of crime in order to be sentenced to a rehab program for addiction. A few states have laws that allow concerned friends and family members to appeal to a court about ordering an addicted loved one into rehab.
Many states have “involuntary commitment” rulings for people who are actively dangerous to themselves or others. However, these rules apply more to a person’s mental health state than a state of addiction. Involuntary commitment may be a possibility if the addiction is very dangerous to the person’s mental health.
There are a few laws in the books that may help you get your loved one into treatment:
The Baker Act
The Baker Act allows for a judge to order a person to go into mental health treatment (usually residential treatment) if he or she is a threat to self or others.
The Marchman Act
This law states that families and law enforcement can send a person into rehab involuntarily if the addiction poses a threat to that person or the people around that person.
The process to help a loved one enter rehab, even against his or her will:
- In many states, a spouse, relative, guardian, private practitioner or any three adults with personal knowledge of the person’s substance abuse may file a petition for court-ordered involuntary treatment
- A court date is then set to determine if the person in question meets the criteria for substance use assessment
- If the subject is assessed and it is determined by the assessor that treatment is needed, a court date will be set to determine if involuntary treatment will be ordered
The length of court-ordered involuntary treatment varies from state to state and case to case. Unlike jail, most rehab facilities are not under lockdown. Therefore, if a person who is court-ordered to be in treatment decides to leave before the rehab program is completed, that person may be held in contempt of court.
When to Consider a Professional Interventionist
There are many ways to help someone you love that may be abusing alcohol or drugs. An involuntary commitment or entrance into drug rehab by force is not possible. Therefore, you may want to consider hiring an experienced addiction interventionist.
In most states, concerned friends and family members cannot force an addicted loved one into treatment. Even if they could, the results are often not successful.
Interventionists are trained professionals who specialize in helping families, friends, and substance abusers. They are:
- Knowledgeable about the disease of addiction
- Aware what treatment options are available
- Understanding of the dynamics of family systems with an addicted person at its center
Furthermore, they provide education to family members and help them develop a plan for getting their loved one into treatment.
Do You Know How to Send Someone to Rehab?
If you or someone you care about is struggling with drug addiction and needs help, please call us now at 269.280.4673 or reach out online. Our admissions coordinators are standing by 24 hours a day. They can help you find a treatment program that will work for you. Therefore, now is the right time to get help now in overcoming your addiction. Call us today.