If your loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you may be wondering what options you have to seek help for them if they are unwilling or unable to seek treatment on their own. Fortunately, the state of Florida provides a way for addicts and their loved ones to seek treatment involuntarily or voluntarily under the Marchman Act. If your loved one does not reside in the state of Florida, the Marchman Act will not apply; however, other states may have similar legislation.
What Is The Marchman Act
The Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act of 1993 is a Florida state statute that allows voluntary and involuntary assessment and stabilization of individuals who are suspected of abusing alcohol or drugs. The Marchman Act is similar to the Baker Act, which provides for involuntary commitment of an individual with a mental health disorder. In the case of involuntary assessment under the Marchman Act, a court may or may not be involved, and certain criteria must be met. If there is court involvement, filing fees may be required.
How To Get Help for a Loved One Under the Marchman Act
Unfortunately, many addicts are unable to recognize that they have a problem with drugs or alcohol. If your loved one does not agree to seek treatment voluntarily, they can still be required to undergo stabilization and assessment on an involuntary basis. In an emergency situation, an individual can be taken into protective custody without court involvement and held for up to three days. In order to seek involuntary treatment for someone on a non-emergency basis, a sworn affidavit can be filed at your local courthouse in the state of Florida.
The person seeking to have someone involuntarily committed under the Marchman Act must:
- be able to show that their loved one lacks self-control in regards to drugs or alcohol and is unwilling to seek treatment voluntarily. Additionally, the person who is the subject of a Marchman Act petition must
- Have inflicted physical harm, attempted to inflict physical harm, threatened to inflict physical harm, or be likely to inflict physical harm to himself or herself or to another person, or
- Due to drug and alcohol addiction, have impaired judgment to the point where he or she is incapable of making rational decisions.
How Does the Marchman Act Work
Once you have filed a sworn affidavit and a Petition for Involuntary Assessment and Stabilization, a court hearing is set. Following the hearing, your loved one may be held on an involuntary basis for up to five days. A Petition for Treatment must then be filed with the court, and a second hearing will be held. Upon the results of that hearing, your loved one may be held for up to 60 days for treatment of his or her substance abuse disorder. If a judge deems it necessary, there can also be a 90-day extension of involuntary treatment.
If an individual who is court-ordered to treatment under the Marchman Act leaves a treatment facility in violation of a court order, he or she must appear in court and will be ordered back to treatment. If he or she does not comply, the individual will be ordered again to return to treatment or to face incarceration. However, the goal of the Marchman Act is to treat individuals with substance abuse disorders and not incarcerate them.
How Long Can My Loved One Be Held Under the Marchman Act?
If an individual is taken into protective custody, he or she may be detained up to three days. Juveniles or individuals admitted on an emergency basis may be held 3-5 days. With court involvement, 60 days with a possible 90 day extension is the maximum length of time.
Take the First Step To Get Help For Your Loved One Today
Many addicts are in denial about their addiction to drugs or alcohol or feel powerless to seek help on their own and need a concerned loved one to make the decision for them. If this describes your drug or alcohol addicted loved one, you may feel compelled to seek life-saving substance abuse treatment for them, possibly against their will if necessary. Sometimes, this can be overwhelming for the loved one of an addict. Call us today at 800-737-0933 to explore the next steps to getting help for your loved one.