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How a Marchman Act Really Works

When a loved one is addicted to alcohol or opiates, it is almost always more than family or friends can manage on their own. In the State of Florida, the Marchman Act is a statute that can help you get emergency care for someone battling addiction. The state court system can provide for either a voluntary or involuntary assessment and stabilization of a person abusing drugs or alcohol, as well as provide treatment for it. Many people have heard of the Marchman Act, but are not completely sure how to use it. Here’s how the Marchman Act really works.

Getting Help With a Marchman Act

To get help from the Florida court system someone has to file a petition with the county clerk of courts to have the substance abuser evaluated. The least expensive option for the filing is to get the required packet at the Clerk of Court’s office and do it yourself. Keep in mind though, that any mistakes or missing details in the petition can cost you precious time. So, if you choose to do the petition yourself take the time to do it right.

The next option seems obvious but may not be. When dealing with the courts, you hire a lawyer to represent you. Remember though, that a lawyer can help you prepare for the filing and represent you at the hearing, but usually is not involved in treatment for the patient.

The third option when implementing the Marchman Act is to hire an intervention counselor who specializes in the entire process. An intervention counselor can file a petition, as well as guide you through setting up a treatment plan to ensure that your loved one receives the care that is needed.

So how does the Marchman Act really work? After the petition is filed, there will be a hearing within ten days. The petitioner receives notice of the hearing by mail and the patient is served notice by the sheriff. From there the court can order for involuntary assessment at a treatment center for up to five days to evaluate and stabilize the patient. A second petition may be filed once the initial written assessment is reviewed by the court to order involuntary treatment for up to 60 days. For the family and patient battling addiction to drugs or alcohol, the Marchman Act can be a lifesaver.

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