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.