Tag Archives: Marchman Act

The Marchman Act Changed substance Abuse Care

The Marchman Act is also known as the Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act of 1993. It is a legal statute in Florida designed to provide emergency intervention for individuals who are abusing alcohol or drugs. This statute is intended to deal with very serious situations. It could be when a chronic substance abuser may be incapable of seeking help, refuses to seek help and might be a danger to themselves or others. The Marchman Act makes it possible for certain individuals, as well as family members, to petition for a court-ordered evaluation to be performed on a chronic substance abuser. This evaluation can happen due to mandated treatment even if the alleged chronic substance abuser refuses it

Substance Abuse Treatment

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are over 22 million citizens in the United States who may need substance abuse services in a single year. It is estimated that less than 2.6 million individuals were able to get the necessary treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), deaths in the United States attributed to a drug overdose have more than tripled in recent years. The Marchman Act is an involuntary commitment law. It is a tool designed to help chronic substance abusers.

Appropriate Referral

The Marchman Act was created as a way to help those concerned about a loved one who desperately needs help. It can get the assistance needed when a chronic substance abuser refuses treatment. There are certain criteria required for an appropriate referral.

*An individual has inflicted or attempted to inflict harm on themselves or others
*An individual is unable to control or end their use of drugs or alcohol.
*An individual is unable to make rational decisions regarding their substance abuse or treatment.

Marchman Act Process

*Petition – It can be filed by a spouse, relative or guardian. It can also be filed by three concerned individuals who are not related but have seen a person’s out of control drug or alcohol abuse. A law enforcement officer, physician or therapist can file an emergency petition.

*Attorney – An attorney who understands the Marchman Act can help make certain a petition is correctly filed. They can also assist during the entire process.

*Paperwork – This must be filed with the clerk of courts in the county where an individual is abusing drugs or alcohol and is staying or living. Once a person has completed the paperwork, they will be required to swear to its veracity. The petition is then notarized and sent for review by a judge.

*Ex Parte Order – A judge or magistrate will determine if a situation requires immediate action, an Ex Parte order, or if the person who is impaired should be served with a summons that mandates them to attend a hearing. Should it be decided the situation is an emergency, a judge or magistrate can also order law enforcement to get the impaired person and take them to a facility for evaluation.

*Hearing – Should a judge or magistrate determine a situation does not require an Ex Parte order, they may deny the petition or set a hearing date to be held within 10 days. Should a hearing be set, a petitioner is notified by mail. A summons is issued for a respondent. All parties should attend the hearing.

*Legal Counsel – All parties are permitted to have legal counsel for the hearing if they choose. The respondent can provide their own attorney, or they can be provided with a court-appointed attorney.

*Testimony – During the hearing, testimony is presented. A judge or magistrate will determine if a court-ordered evaluation is necessary. The respondent has the burden of proving the individual being accused of substance abuse impairment requires professional evaluation. There are certain facilities able to perform such evaluations. It should take five days to perform, but more time can be requested from a court if necessary.

*After Evaluation – At this time, a facility can choose to discharge an individual, change their status to voluntary or as a court-ordered involuntary admission for treatment services. Treatment can be ordered for up to 60 days. Some counties enable 90 days of treatment with the possibility of renewal every 90 days.

The Matchman Act has been able to help individuals who have been self-destructing with their abuse of drugs or alcohol. Using the power to initiate a petition for an involuntary commitment must only be done as a last resort. When someone believes a person they know or love is in desperate need of help, it should be discussed with a physician or a specialist in the field of addiction. Speaking with an experienced professional should be your first step. We provide counselors who are available to assist you 24 hours a day to help with a chronic substance abuser. Call us today and discuss your situation at 800-737-0933.

How Can the Marchman Act Help Me Get Treatment for My Loved One?

Far too many people know how painful it is to watch a loved one struggle with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. For some friends and family members, the pain is very personal because they have suffered collateral damage at the hands of their loved one’s addiction. The problem is it’s difficult for family members to exert any influence over a loved one who is unwilling to admit they are dealing with the cycle of addiction.

Family members can only hope there will come a time when their addicted loved one comes to the realization there’s a problem. At that point, there’s hope the addiction sufferer will finally reach out for help. Short of that happening, the only other recourse family and friends might have is an intervention. Sometimes interventions work and sometimes they don’t. If an intervention fails, loved ones don’t have the option of putting a gun to their addicted loved one’s head to drag them into rehab.

With all that said, there is a law in Florida that empowers family members to force a loved one into rehab if they can establish the loved one’s addiction makes the loved one danger to themselves or to others. The name of that law is the “Marchman Act.” FYI: The Marchman Act is officially listed as the “Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act of 1993”.

At this point, we would like to engage in further discussion about the Marchman Act and how it works.

Using the Marchman Act to Get a Loved One Into Rehab

Before we begin this discussion, it seems prudent to point out something that should be evident. Contrary to some people’s beliefs, using the Matchman to have a loved one involuntarily placed in an addiction treatment facility is not an adversarial action. In many cases, it is being done out of legitimate love and concern for the addicted family member.

Think about it for a moment. An individual is trying to survive life caught up in a substantial addiction to drugs or alcohol. Their life is crumbling before their very eyes. Maybe they are homeless or dealing with financial, health and relationship problems. They won’t seek help because they either don’t want help, don’t believe they have an addiction or have given up hope. Left to their own devices, there’s real potential these kinds of addiction sufferers are headed down the road towards prison, insanity or even death. What kind of a relative or friend would just stand by and let that happen?

The Marchman Act exists for this very reason. It’s not a blanket option for family members to exercise in order to remove an unwanted nuisance from their own lives. Like any other restrictive law on the books, a family member has to show just cause that their addicted loved one poses a real danger to themselves or others. Making that claim has to be adjudicated in a court of law.

Reasons Marchman Act Can Be Exercised

Remember, a family member has to show just cause as to why their loved one should be involuntarily subjected to addiction treatment. The first qualification is the addiction sufferer must show a high level of impairment whether sober or not. If they are impaired, it becomes reasonable to assume they don’t have the capacity for taking proper care of themselves or making good judgments. They have basically lost the ability to control their lives.

The other reason why the courts might exercise the Marchman act is if the family member can show that their loved one has made threats or is a danger to others. Under the influence of a substance, any signs of aggression should be given extra scrutiny.

The Process
If a family member makes the decision to attempt to have the courts invoke the Marchman Act on their loved one, there’s a very specific process the family member must follow. Here are the steps in order:

  • Petition the court with a sworn affidavit
  • A court hearing is held for involuntary assessment
  • The defendant is held for up to five days for medical and mental health evaluation
  • If found impaired, the court will issue order for involuntary treatment of up to 60 days
  • If the defendant refuses, they are held in civil contempt of court

If you have concerns about the welfare of an addicted loved one living in Florida, we would like to offer our addiction treatment services. If you need help with the process, you can contact us at 800-737-0933.

Does the Marchman Act Allow My Family Member To Choose What Rehab They Go To?

As a society, we need to protect people who cannot protect themselves. We also need to protect people from themselves when something about their behavior puts them or others at risk. This entire line of thought can be applied to people who have an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Yes, there are times when addicts have lost complete control over themselves to the point serious repercussions could be right around the corner.

Note: Florida is considered one of the premiere addiction treatment destinations in the world. As such, the state takes serious it obligation to look out for citizens who are vulnerable to addiction issues that could hurt others or the themselves. For that reason, the Florida state legislature passed the The Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act of 1993.

The following information is going to delve into the Marchman Act, how it works and it it affects the rights of addicts and their loved ones. This is important for anyone who might feel their loved one is at great risk because of their inability to control their substance abuse.

What is the Marchman Act

The Marchman Act calls for the temporary detention of individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others because of the possibility of substance abuse and addiction. The Act further authorizes the courts to authorize a complete evaluation and treatment program for these individuals when addiction is indeed indicated. When applied properly and with great care, the Marchman Act has the teeth to force people into treatment for addiction, resulting in them getting the help they might not have otherwise gotten. It’s seen as good legislation because the end-game is helping people getting into recovery where they will get the chance to live a far better life than what they were living with an addiction.

When legislation has the ability to be invasive on another person’s freedoms, questions arise. Here’s three questions that may be rolling around in your head:

  • Who has the authority to request action under the Marchman Act?
  • How does the Marchman Act work?
  • What rights do the patient and or their loved one’s have?

Let’s a closer look at these questions and the answers.

Who Has the Authority to Request Action Under the Marchman Act?

A Matchman Act filing must be initiated against the alleged impaired individual in the Florida county where said individual resides. The filing must be prepared and submitted by a person who is recognized by the court as someone who has standing to do so. That’s usually includes family members and law enforcement. The filling must be submitted in good faith by someone who has direct knowledge or who has seen the danger presented by the impaired individual’s behavior. The filing party must also provide evidence that the impaired individual does not have the capacity to make decisions for themselves.

How Does the Marchman Act Work?

If the petition is approved by a court magistrate, a court order is given to the sheriff’s office to have the applicable individual detained. The initial evaluation period is legally restricted to 3-5 days. If cause for treatment is shown, the individual can be remanded for treatment for up to 60 days. If the 60 days proves to be inadequate, the court has an option to authorize a 90-day extension. The costs should be covered by the patient. However, the state does have resources that can be designed by the court to be used to cover the costs.

What Rights Do the Patient and or Their Loved One’s Have?

Once an individual is placed in an involuntary treatment program, the court essentially takes temporary control over their life. The individual must report for and stay in treatment as per the court order. While rehab centers don’t have bars, any attempts by the patient to leave treatment before its conclusion will result in them being brought back into court. Any further non-compliance could result in contempt of court charges. Neither the patient nor their loved ones have any say in the length of treatment or which treatment facility is selected. Once the patient has entered treatment, only the court has access to progress reports without the patient’s written authorization. Once the patient successfully completes treatment and shows the capacity to care for themselves, they will be released from the grips of the Act.

If you need information about how the Marchman Act could apply to your situation, we can provide answers. We request you call us at 800-737-0933.

How Long Can a Person Be Required to Get Addiction Treatment Under the Marchman Act?

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.

What is the Marchman Act?

If you’re a parent of a child, relative or friend of a loved one who has a substance abuse problem, it can be painful watching them suffer. You may feel like there is nothing you can do to help, but that is not the case. In Florida, individuals can be temporarily detained, evaluated, and treated for substance abuse under the Marchman Act. It was named after Rev. Hal S. Marchman, an advocate for persons suffering from alcoholism and drug abuse.

The Marchman Act provides for the temporary legal detention, evaluation, and treatment of individuals for drugs or alcohol abuse. The person will be required to complete a court-ordered assessment, and they can be admitted involuntarily to a treatment center and kept for up to five days. The intent is for individuals to receive emergency assistance, which can be followed up with a more permanent long-term treatment plan. After the initial five days, the person can be ordered to receive treatment for up to 60 days if the results of the assessment show that further treatment is needed.

How does the Marchman Act Work?

The petition must be filed in good faith by a person recognized by the court to do so, which includes the spouse, guardian, or any relative of the person. Professionals, such as a director of a licensed service provider or a private practitioner can file the petition. It can also be filed by any three adults who have personal knowledge about the person’s drug or alcohol impairment.

The impaired person meets the criteria if they have lost the power of self-control with regards to substance abuse. The person must also be either a danger to themselves or someone else or incapable of making a rational decision in regards to seeking help for their drugs and/or alcohol treatment.

Although Florida statutes provide that the assessment period can be up to 5 days, if the person is sober and does not meet the criteria of the Marchman Act when they arrive at the assessment center, they may be released after the assessment. However, many individuals will agree to voluntarily stay for treatment once they have met with the counselors.

If you have someone that you are concerned about because of their substance abuse, call our counselors today at 800-737-0933. Help is available 24 hours a day.

Marchman Act Intervention Can Result In Superior Substance Abuse Treatment Outcomes

It’s a agonizing scenario that plays out for millions of people every year. Family members sit by helplessly as they watch a loved one devolve into a life of despair and desperation because of addiction to alcohol or drugs. Sometimes it ends in death.

Many attempt to help their addicted loved one by staging an intervention. This is when a group gathers together to powerfully confront the substance abuser face-to-face. They make an impassioned attempt to persuade him or her to seek treatment.

The problem with an intervention is that the final decision rests ultimately with the addict. Very often they just can’t muster the personal strength to accept treatment, remain in deep denial, or they just don’t care.

That’s why the state of Florida in 1993 passed the Marchman Act. This law provides for a legal mechanism in which family, friends and associates of an addicted person can legally commit a person to treatment whether he or she wants to accept it or not.

Carefully Crafted Guidelines of The Marchman Act

In the United States the basic rights of privacy and personal freedom are among our most highly cherished values. Thus, it’s no surprise that legislation such as the Marchman Act is controversial and makes many people uncomfortable.

That’s why those who crafted the law more than 25 years ago included highly specific rules, regulations and guidelines. They spelled out precisely what could be done under the Act and what could not be done. In short, the Marchman Act provides for legal protection and formal representation of any individual who is the target of this manner of intervention.

Several criteria must be met to apply the Marchman Act to a person. These include:

* The person must have become impaired due to substance abuse.
* The person be must a threat to themselves or others.
* The person must lack the the ability to appreciate the benefits of treatment.
* The person with the addiction must “not care.”

Thousands of people have been remanded to treatment for substance abuse since the Marchman Act was enacted in 1993 — and there are thousands of success stories.

Both patients and treatment professionals generally have high praise for the Marchman Act. Addicts often have better outcomes than those who entered treatment via ordinary intervention. Need help with a Marchman Act in Palm Beach County?  Call us today 800-737-0933

Can An Alcohol Treatment Center Help Me Stage an Intervention?

Addiction interventions have gained notoriety through television shows and popular culture. The intention of hosting an intervention is to not only convince the addict to go to treatment, it is to help the family recover and make changes that will promote the addict to recover. Interventions are often used when all other tactics to get the addict into treatment have failed. However, intervention can be used at any point in the progression of the disease, even at the early stages to prevent the disease from progressing to the point that it is even more difficult to treat.

You should never put together an intervention on your own. You should hire a certified interventionist to plan and oversee the intervention because they are trained in the areas of addiction, co-dependency, and handling situations that may arise during the intervention. You can find a professional interventionist through consulting addiction treatment centers.

The Different Models of Interventions

Your interventionist will work with you in determining the right model of intervention to use. Some interventionists may only use one type of intervention. The right model of intervention is variable per individual case; therefore, you should find an interventionist that is open to and is well-trained in executing all models of intervention.
The most common models of interventions that are used are:

The Johnson Model

The Johnson Model is based on the surprise element and confrontation. The family comes together to formulate consequences for the addict if he or she refuses to go to treatment. The addict is unaware that the intervention will take place in order to be pulled out of denial and be forced to confront the damage their addiction has caused.

The Invitational Model

The Invitational Model does not include any surprise elements or confrontation. One family member invited the addict to the intervention and fully discloses what will happen at the intervention. The addict can choose to come or not. Even if the addict does not come, the intervention will still go on. The theory is as long as the co-dependent structure is collapsed, the addict will seek help at some point.

Field Model

The Field Model is a combination of the Johnson Model and Invitational Model. It adapts per the situation. The interventionist makes decisions of which aspects from each model to use as the situation plays out.

Genesis House is located in Lake Worth, Florida. We understand the importance of family involvement in recovery. Our staff consists of addiction professionals who are trained to do interventions.

If you are interested in Genesis House to help you arrange an intervention, call us today at 800-737-0933

Can You Put Someone into a Florida Alcohol Treatment Center Unwillingly?

Watching your loved one go through addiction is devastating for you and your family. Unlike other diseases, addiction does not compel people to seek treatment immediately upon their diagnosis. Addiction is a disease that carries many consequences, including death, and you want to prevent your loved one from sinking to that level. You think that putting someone into treatment against their will is the most loving decision you can make for them, but the situation is much your complicated than that.

In most states, you cannot force someone into addiction treatment against their will if he or she is over the age of 18. There are some states who have certain laws and acts (e.g. Florida’s Marchman Act) where you can petition the court to put someone into addiction treatment against their will if you can prove certain circumstances.
•The addict is in danger of hurting himself or herself.

•The addict is in danger of hurting someone else.

•The addict’s mental state is so clouded that they are incompetent of making decisions for himself or herself.

•The addict has recently had an overdose or multiple overdoses.

If you live in Florida, you can petition the court to put your loved one in a Florida alcohol treatment center against their will if you petition the courts under the Marchman act. If you live in another state and wish to put your loved in a Florida alcohol treatment center against their will, the laws the state that you live in will apply to you.

Why Forced Treatment May Not Be the Right Solution

The reason addicts do not seek treatment once they develop the problem is denial is the hallmark to addiction. Addiction is a disease that tells them that they do not have a disease, which is why the First Step of the Twelve Steps is about admitting their powerlessness and that their lives have become unmanageable as a result. People cannot seek help if they do not think they have a problem.

Even when addicts realize that they are powerless over their substance of choice, seeking help is not easy. Their addictive substance has become their best friend that is killing them. Think back to when you were a child when you were playing out in the street and severely cut your knee. You stayed out in the street and coped with the pain instead of going home and having your mother put iodine on your wound, temporarily increasing the pain before alleviating it. The addicts know that thy will have to endure excruciating withdrawal and face psychological demons that they have been suppressing through their substance use.

Addict have to hit rock bottom, which is an internal state of readiness to get help. Their desire to be free from their addiction has to be stronger than their desire to continue using to suppress their pain. Addicts can only save themselves; their families are powerless. Forcing an addict into treatment is co-dependent behavior and will not solve the problem if he or she is not ready to get into recovery. The best than you can do your addicted loved one is taking care of yourself.

Genesis House is a treatment center in Lake Worth, Florida that has an excellent family program that teaches families how to understand and cope with the family disease of addiction. Call us today at 800-737-0933

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.

Need help?  Call us today 800-737-0933

The Marchman Act

The Marchman Act was created in Florida to assist citizens of Florida get emergency substance abuse services on a voluntary or involuntary basis.

What is a Marchman Act?

A Marchman Act is a means of providing an individual in need of substance abuse services with emergency services and temporary detention for substance abuse evaluation and treatment when required either on an involuntary or voluntary basis.

How are voluntary and involuntary Marchman Act admissions different?

A voluntary admission is when a person who wishes to enter treatment for substance abuse services applies to a service provider for voluntary admission. An involuntary admission is when there is good faith reason to believe the person is substance abuse impaired and, because of said impairment, has lost the power of self control over their substance use; either has inflicted, attempted or threatened to inflict or is likely to inflict physical harm on himself/herself or another; or the persons judgment has been so impaired because of substance abuse that he/she is incapable of appreciating the need for substance abuse treatment.

Are there other criteria to know if a Marchman Act is appropriate?

Yes. There is additional criterion for a voluntary and involuntary Marchman Act. For example, a minor may seek voluntary admission for substance abuse services without parental or guardian consent. A law enforcement officer may take a person into protective custody when the minor or adult appears to meet the admission criteria and is brought to the attention of law enforcement officer in a public place.

Who can file a Marchman Act Petition?

In addition to a law enforcement officer’s authority to implement protective custody, a private practitioner, the persons spouse or relative of the person, the director of a licensed service provider or the directors designee, 3 responsible adults who have personal knowledge of the persons substance abuse problem or, in the case of a minor, the minor’s parents, legal guardian, legal custodian, or a licensed service provider can file an involuntary

How do I file a Marchman Act?

If you have personal knowledge of a person’s substance abuse problem and because of this impairment the person has lost the power of self control with respect to substance abuse and you have reason to believe that that person is a danger to him/herself or others you may file a Marchman Act petition. You will need to contact a licensed service provider treatment center to confirm that a bed is available for that impaired person.

Where do I file a Marchman Act?

In Palm Beach County Florida you may file a Marchman Act petition at the County Courthouse located on 205 North Dixie Highway West Palm Beach, Florida in the Mental Health Office.

What do I need to bring with me?

You will need to bring some identification (including social security number) driver license or birth certificate. You will need to bring the address or location where the person impaired can be located by the sheriff’s office.

What will happen after I file a Marchman Act?

After you complete the Marchman Act Petition, the court will review the petition and if the person is represented by an attorney, conduct a hearing within 10 days or without the appointment of an attorney and relying solely on the contents of the petition enter an order authorizing the involuntary stabilization and assessment of the person.

How long may a person be held on a Marchman Act?

A person may be detained for involuntary assessment and stabilization for a period not to exceed 5 days.

Who can I call for more information?

For more information please call the clerk of Court in the county where the individual resides as procedures may vary form county to county within the State of Florida. It can be difficult for one who has a drinking problem to actually see it and acknowledge it for themselves. Alcoholism is a tricky disease and manifests itself in many ways. The American Medical Society (AMA) defines alcoholism as a chronic, progressive condition with mental cravings, and physical withdrawal symptoms noted when the intake of alcohol is ceased.

There seems to be three stages of alcoholism that the alcoholic travels through in their drinking careers, early, middle and late stages. Many alcoholics die in the late stages of alcoholism by malnutrition liver disease, blood pressure disorders, or complications due from acute withdrawal symptoms. Many die from simple accidents such as driving (DUI) falling down drunk and suffering a head injury or a host of other tragic events. Some of the symptoms of alcoholism are denial of the problem itself. Mental cravings and compulsions to drink are common. Physical withdrawal symptoms occur when the alcoholic stops drinking. Many Alcoholics require a medical detox when this occurs. Many alcoholics can function in society for a time if they are in the early stages of the illness.

Many hold jobs, go to work, raise a family like anyone else. This profile usually starts to wane as the disease moves forward and gets worse. Eventually the alcoholic will begin to exhibit a pattern of missed work, coming home drunk, not taking care of responsibilities or suffering negative consequences from their drinking. Many alcoholics get into trouble with the law. Being intoxicated in public, driving under the influence are common legal problems for the alcoholic type. Many kill or injure other innocent people by their drinking behavior. Many kill themselves by accident by being intoxicated or in a blackout. The alcoholic can become so immersed in their addiction to alcohol they may need medical help.

Many alcoholics refuse help when confronted about their drinking problems. They may be behind on their mortgage, late with bills, neglecting family and work but still will not seek help. Denial of the illness is so powerful within the alcoholic that they will refuse any offer of help. Many times the only recourse for the loved ones is an Intervention. An Intervention is a planned coordinated gentle confrontation by loved ones or friends of the person suffering from alcoholism. The goal of the Intervention is to get the alcoholic into a treatment or medical center for stabilization. Usually, the Intervention is lead by a trained Interventionist or counselor who is familiar with the process. Family members are instructed to exert tough love during this intervention meeting. The alcoholic is not afforded a way out or around the only course available now…treatment. The interventionist is familiar with the techniques of, manipulation and false promises usually utilized by the alcoholic. Buying time, putting off to a later date or refusing to go get help is a common tactic for the alcoholic. The intervention team must combat all these obstacles during this meeting with clear directions of treatment only. In some states if the intervention fails, a legal remedy is available to the loved ones of the alcoholic. In Florida, families may petition the Mental Health court for a Marchman Act. The Marchman Act was created for this very difficult purpose.

Get the alcoholic who is in denial or refusing medical help treatment. Once a Marchman Act has been initiated and served, the matter is now in the hands of the mental health court. The alcoholic person is sent a notice to appear in court. This hearing is a civil not criminal. The commissioner usually orders an alcohol assessment and history to be completed on the alcoholic by a licensed addiction or alcohol counselor or agency. Once the assessment has been completed, the judge makes a determination based on the findings of the counselor. More often than not, the alcoholic is ordered into a local alcohol treatment center for help. The court monitors the person’s treatment throughout this process. If the alcoholic elopes, or refuses to go initially to treatment, then the court has the power to place them in violation. A violation of a Marchman Act order could result in a jail sentence. The threat of jail seems to be the final push that the alcoholic needs to finally go into rehab.

It would seem that once you finally get the sick alcoholic into treatment the question of how are they going to get well if they don’t want help comes up. That is a good question. Many alcoholics enter treatment agencies against their will. They do recover and get well. The key is to break the cycle of drinking and stabilize the alcoholic. The counselors can go about the other clinical tasks of breaking through denial systems, and developing relapse prevention strategies. The Marchman Act is a fantastic tool in the fight against the disease. Many states do not have any remedy for placing an alcoholic into treatment involuntarily. Loved ones have to pray and hope that the alcoholic will stop on their own or see the light. Many loved ones have to hope that the alcoholic will get arrested and come before a judge who will then order them into treatment. Many times this does not happen and the alcoholic just continues own into a whirlwind of drinking and despair.

The Marchman Act has helped thousands of people within the State of Florida deal with difficult situations relating to alcohol abuse and alcoholism. For more information about the Marchman Act go to DCF.State.Fl.us