Can You Force Someone to Go to Rehab in Florida?

girl thinking of using the Marchman Act to force someone into rehab

Can You Force Someone to Go to Rehab in Florida?

Many individuals who suffer from addiction and substance use disorders have a difficult time admitting that they have a problem. This commonly leads to struggling addicts refusing help for their addictions. Additionally, many individuals have a fear of going to rehab, making it difficult to convince people to go to rehab in the first place.

If your loved one is having a hard time accepting that they need help, you may be wondering if there is anything you can do or if you can force someone to go to rehab in Florida. Luckily, the Marchman Act allows family members to involuntarily commit their loved ones to treatment when absolutely necessary.

What is the Marchman Act?

The Marchman Act, also known as Florida’s Substance Abuse Impairment Act, is part of a Florida statute that was created to help individuals receive treatment.[1] To explain, the Marchman Act is a law that allows a person to be admitted for an addiction assessment and into substance abuse treatment against their will. This law helps family members petition to the court for a court-ordered addiction assessment without their loved one’s consent.

The Marchman Act is only invoked when an individual is in dire need of professional treatment and refuses to go willingly.

Criteria for the Marchman Act in Florida

To begin the process of the Marchman Act, a person must be suspected of having a problem with drugs or alcohol. While the Marchman Act is only valid in the state of Florida, other states have their laws and processes in place to provide individuals with the treatment that they do not know they need.

The following is a list of reasons that an individual may attend involuntary rehab in Florida:[2]

  • The person has lost the power of self-control over their drug or alcohol abuse
  • The individual has inflicted, or threatened, or attempted to inflict physical harm on themselves on someone else
  • The person needs substance abuse services and because of their substance abuse impairment, their judgment does not allow them to make rational decisions regarding treatment for addiction

Who Can Use the Marchman Act?

To invoke the Marchman Act, you must be the spouse, guardian, or relative of the individual who requires treatment. However, if three adults have direct knowledge of an individual’s substance abuse and are not related to the individual, they can petition together for their friend to be involuntarily committed. Because some individuals do not have family members or do not have direct contact with their loved ones, the Marchman Act allows three non-related adults to petition for a friend, coworker, or acquaintance in need.

Is Florida Residency Required?

While the Marchman Act only applies to the state of Florida, an individual does not have to be a resident of Florida to be involuntarily committed to addiction treatment. In other words, as long as an individual is in the state of Florida, they can be sent to involuntary rehab in Delray Beach and treated against their will.

Is an Attorney Necessary?

While it is not necessary to have an attorney when utilizing the Marchman Act, having the support and help from an experienced professional will improve your chances of success as you try to force someone to go to rehab. Unfortunately, it is common for families to have a hard time invoking the Marchman Act due to a lack of understanding of civil processes and procedures. However, if you cannot afford an attorney, you can request a court-appointed attorney.

Some cases may be dismissed, meaning there was a lack of evidence for the Marchman Act to be completed. If this happens, you can always attempt to perform an intervention to convince your loved one to attend rehab.

Additional Involuntary Rehab Procedures in Florida

The Marchman Act is a procedure that requires a Petition for Involuntary Assessment and Stabilization to be filed to the county clerk’s office. This can cause the Marchman Act to be a lengthy and difficult process. If you have tried to utilize the Marchman Act in Florida with no success, there are other ways to involuntarily commit an individual into substance abuse rehab.

Let’s take a look at each involuntary rehab procedure that is offered in Florida so you can understand your different options if you want to force someone into rehab.

General Involuntary Admission

The general involuntary admission procedure is the most practical way of forcing someone to attend treatment. This procedure works by deciphering whether there is good reason to believe the individual in question is impaired in judgment and has a problem with alcohol or drugs.

Protective Custody

During a protective custody procedure, a police officer will escort an individual in need of substance use disorder treatment to a hospital, detoxification facility, rehab center, municipal building, county jail, or detention center. While individuals may be handcuffed and forced into treatment, protective custody procedures are not considered an arrest.

A law enforcement officer will invoke protective custody if they meet the involuntary admission criteria. Oftentimes, this happens when someone calls the police on a friend or loved one out of concern for their substance abuse.

Emergency Admission

A physician, spouse, guardian, relative, or any other responsible adult with personal knowledge of an individual’s substance abuse may file for emergency admission into rehab.

The application for an emergency admission is required to be turned in with a physician’s certificate. Additionally, the physician’s examination must take place within five days of the application date for the procedure to be effective.

Extension of Involuntary Treatment

Treatment providers can file a petition to renew a treatment order by 10 days before the initial order expires. However, the patient must continue to meet the criteria for involuntary treatment for this to be valid. After an extension is requested, the court will schedule a hearing within 15 days of the petition being filed. If the hearing goes well, an individual may receive an extension of treatment for up to 90 days.

Find Help Today

If your loved one is dealing with an addiction to drugs or alcohol and is refusing treatment, it may be time to commit them to involuntary rehab in Florida. To learn more about how the Marchman Act works, contact Florida Recovery Group today. We can provide you with the resources you need to get started.


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