Can you put someone in rehab against their will?

Maybe you’re at a crossroads with a loved one who is fighting addiction, and you keep asking can you put someone in rehab against their will.

In most cases, a lot of people that are battling addiction, injuries, or even mental disorders are always in denial. This in turn makes them turn against any form of help coming their way.

Again people battling addiction or any form of mental disorder may also outrightly reject rehab. Obviously. This situation can be very confusing and draining for their loved ones.

This is because everyone wants the best for their families and loved ones. So, seeing someone dear to you struggle with rehab-worthy situations and yet reject help could be an emotional and physical burden.

Therefore, if you find yourself wondering if you can put someone in rehab against their will, keep reading.

Can you put someone in rehab against their will?

Firstly, this is rather a delicate question. Struggling with issues and refusing help takes a toll on just about everyone that is watching. But as a primary caregiver or a loved one, you must make these decisions, no matter how hard.

Now, if someone you love resists the idea of seeking help for their situation, there are the right steps to take.

  • Age

First and foremost, their age plays a huge role in the steps you must take to get them help. If the person is below the age of 18, you might take them to rehab against their will.

This helps because you still make the decisions for them. Also, you are in line with the law. Since the states that a child becomes an adult at 18 years and capable of making their decision. You can take you under 18 to get help in the rehab.

However, if the person in need of rehab is above 18 years old and still refusing rehab. The answer is no, you can not forcefully or drag them to rehab against their will.

Moreover, if this option is off and your loved one is an adult, there are safer options to take. These options will be in line with the law and your conscience.

  • Dialogue

In continuation, this is a very important approach to getting someone help. Dialoging reduced the tension and the disdain that a forceful approach can cause.

Although this approach can be all you need to get your loved one to rehab. But it must be approached with all sensitivity.

To start with, target when the person is in a good and relaxed mood. They must be sober and lucid at this point.

Then, let their most trusted person that they always feel secure and safe with, dialogue with them with good intentions.

The dialogue must first be devoid of any kind of blame but filled with love and concern. This method has done a lot of wonders and has seen people who once rejected rehab, packing their bags by themselves to go get the much-needed help.

Besides, in the event that dialogue failed, there are a few more options to explore.

  • Involuntary commitment

Can you put someone in rehab against their will with the help of the state? you may or you may not. Basically, most states in the United States require that only an arrest and conviction will be the only means for taking someone to rehab against their will.

Unfortunately, not all addicts and people with mental health disorders commit a crime. So, this option is not just available to everyone.

Again, some states permit a method called involuntary commitment. Take, for example, your adult loved one becoming dangerous or self-harming due to mental illness and still rejecting rehab.

The court order permits you to take them to rehab. But there is a clause, that this method works more for individuals with just mental health issues and not for addicts.

And of course, it may work if the addiction becomes a thing of concern and their health is threatened.

  • Marchman Act

It is certain that what is legal in one state might be illegal in another. In 1993, the state of Florida made a move to curb the addiction menace plaguing the state. This law states that the family, alongside law enforcement agencies, can take an addict into rehab, albeit involuntarily.

But first, the addict must have posed a threat to themselves and the people around them.

Now, more than 37 states have borrowed a leaf from this act and have enacted these laws.

Can you put someone in rehab against their will (Different laws to consider)

However, each state has a certain way to structure its laws. So, just be sure about the drug law in your state and act accordingly.

  • Ricky’s Law

Washington DC has had this law in place since 2018.

If you live in this state, the law for involuntary commitment operates in full if your loved one is an addict and poses harm to themselves and others. This includes both adults and non-adults.

  • Casey’s Law

The law began as a result of a minor that passed as a result of drug abuse. After this event, the state of Kentucky passed the law in the name of the young lad, Matthew Casey Wethington.

So, since 2004, the law permits parents, guardians, primary caregivers, and friends, to act quickly and petition the court for an involuntary commitment on behalf of their loved ones.

Steps to involuntary commitment

If you reside in a state that allows the use of involuntary commitment, then, you and your addicted loved one are in luck. By the way, there are rules and regulations guiding this method of rehab.

To start with, check if your state requires a court order first with an evaluation from a physician. The physician’s discovery will be the guide for the next action. If the physician certifies the person as an addict and in need of help, then, help comes their way.

Other criteria that qualify someone for involuntary commitment

Aside from getting a physician to evaluate your addicted loved one, there are other criteria that will immediately qualify them for involuntary commitment.

These includes:

  1. If your loved one becomes disabled as a result of drug addiction and abuse.
  2. They become mentally deranged due to addiction
  3. Also, if they become a threat to themselves and the people around them.
  4. Unable to make clear and concise decisions for themselves as a result of severe dependency and abuse. 

Effect of involuntary commitment

In continuation, since different states enacted this law, there have been mixed results with the patients.

Lots of states have recorded that while some expressed disappointment and think rehab should be a voluntary decision, others agreed with the state that rehab should not be voluntary. Especially when it becomes a danger to the addict.

In conclusion, the use of drugs has gone beyond becoming a family and friend’ burden. It is now also the state’s burden.

So, in the event that you have a stubborn loved one who is ravaged by addiction and still refusing help. Look up your state’s law for drugs. And act to save a life today.

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