When a loved one appears to be using drugs or alcohol in a way that is unhealthy and potentially damaging, family members and close friends often feel helpless. After all, it’s often said that a person struggling with addiction needs to “hit rock bottom” or otherwise make the decision to seek care.
But what if your loved one’s drug or alcohol dependency is causing them to make dangerous decisions? You may have determined that their substance use has made it so they have lost the power to responsibly make decisions. And sometimes, when someone who is addicted to a given substance reaches this point, it becomes almost impossible for them to as for help on their own.
You may also feel deeply concerned for a loved one who has become dependent on alcohol or drugs, even if that person is still very highly functioning. In these cases, a person is still capable of making rational decisions, although their thinking may be somewhat clouded by drug use.
In either of these situations, it can be excruciatingly difficult to see your loved one struggle with a substance abuse. But the good news is that, if you are hoping to help get your loved one to a rehab in Florida, a law called the Marchman Act may help.
What is the Marchman Act? How Can it Help Your Loved One?
The Marchman Act, known formally as the Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act of 1993, was put into Florida law in an effort to help those who are heavily using alcohol or illegal drugs. Through the Marchman Act, you may be able to help get your loved into rehab and on the road to complete recovery.
Not everyone knows that the Marchman Act allows for both voluntary and involuntary assessment and stabilization of people who are using drugs or alcohol. However, the process of obtaining help for a loved one will differ depending on whether you’re seeking help on behalf of a loved one who you believe has completely lost control of their usage, or whether you want to encourage a loved one to seek out help on their own.
If your loved one is so impaired by substance use that he or she cannot seek treatment, you have the option of filing a petition for involuntary assessment with the Clerk of Court. While this is often a step in the right direction, the process to get your loved one into rehab may take a fair amount of time. If you choose to file a petition for involuntary assessment, the following will occur:
- You and the loved one you are concerned about will be summoned for a hearing
- At the hearing, the court will determine whether an order for involuntary assessment is needed
- If the order is issued, you can either arrange for your loved one to be taken to a private facility, or have the state choose a state-sponsored facility for stabilization and treatment.
- The facility will hold your loved one for no more than 5 days.
- After this, the facility will send the court an assessment, and from there, the court may or may not decide to file an order for involuntary treatment.
Generally speaking, the above method is used for those who truly believe their loved one has become temporarily mentally incompetent due to substance use. If you are deeply concerned about a loved one but don’t believe they have become completely incapable of making their own decisions, it may be wise to speak with them first. The Marchman Act also allows for voluntary admissions. In order to pursue a voluntary Marchman Act admission, your loved one must seek out a provider and apply for treatment. The voluntary process is, of course, faster and more streamlined, but it requires your loved one to want treatment.
What Should I Do If I Feel My Loved One Needs Help?
If you are concerned about a family member or close friend who appears to be struggling with substance abuse, a good first step is to gently talk to them. Reassuring them that you love them and offering support is a good start, and if you feel comfortable doing so, you may want to mention the option of seeking treatment. If you do mention the Marchman Act, be sure that you clarify that you are encouraging your loved one to seek voluntary treatment–threatening to seek involuntary treatment on their behalf will likely do more harm than good.
What Happens Once Treatment Begins?
Most Marchman Act admissions begin with an initial assessment and stabilization phase. This is when the facility attempts to determine the severity of the dependency and also detoxes the person. In the case of an involuntary admission, the court will read the facility’s report and decide whether involuntary treatment (admission to a drug rehab) is needed).
If your loved one seeks treatment voluntarily, most facilities will follow similar steps. Upon admission, your loved one will be assessed, detoxed if needed, and stabilized. Most facilities offering voluntary admissions will talk to the patient about options–some facilities offer a detox-only option, but most recommend pursuing rehab after detox to ensure a stable foundation for recovery.
Are You Ready to Pursue Treatment?
Often, if you are planning to talk to a loved one about substance abuse, it is helpful to have the number of a qualified detox center at the ready. Whether you are planning on talking to your loved one and offering them a place to reach out, or if you just want to speak to a treatment facility and ask some questions, our friendly counselors are available to help 24/7. If you are hoping to find help for a loved one, or if you want to encourage that loved one to seek help, reach out to our counselors at 866-802-6848 today. Together, you and your loved one can take the first steps toward recovery.