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08.10.2018

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.

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