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Can I Force Someone into Detox?

If there is a person in your life with a substance use disorder, you are experiencing a lot of stress. You no longer had the relationship that you used to and you worry that the addiction will kill your loved one. You know that this person needs professional, structured detox and treatment. But, what do you do if you talked to them about rehab and they refused to go? Can you force someone into detox? Do you have to stand by and watch their emotional, financial, mental, and physical life deteriorate? Do you distance yourself?

Do you try to practice tough love? What is the answer?

There isn’t one solution to this problem that will work for all people.

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Every individual has a different addiction and you can’t apply a universal fix-all. But, you can take comfort in the knowledge that treatment doesn’t have to be voluntary. There are circumstances in which you can force an adult relative, friend, or loved one into treatment.

Alternatively, you can hope that your loved one will make an illegal choice and that they will end up in court-ordered treatment, another involuntary avenue for treatment.

If you can’t stand by and watch the person you love fall apart in the hands of an addiction they can’t control, you need to get some expert help. Finding an appropriate detox center is a good first step and our specialists can help with that. You can get questions answered, get connected to resources, and get recommendation for detox programs. Give us a call at 800-996-6135(Who Answers?) to get started.

Involuntary Detox: State Law

Force Someone into Detox

If someone is on probation, detox can be court-ordered.

Of course, minors under their parents’ care can be placed involuntarily in treatment, but most people believe that option disappears when people reach adulthood.

Unfortunately, many people who begin drug use at a young age have their mental maturity impaired. Although they become legal adults, they may remain intellectual adolescents. You will want to continue caring for them, but you may feel impeded by their technical adulthood.

There are laws in place in many states that allow for friends and/or relatives to place a person involuntarily in treatment. Each state has a different set of laws and procedures in place, so you will need to research what is applicable in the state that you live in.

An example of a state law is Casey’s Law, which is in place in Kentucky and Ohio. It presents a way to intervene with a person who refuses to recognize their need for treatment. Parents, relatives, and/or friends can petition a court for treatment on behalf of an uncooperative person.

There is a procedure that needs to be followed. It involves the court determining probable cause to proceed and having your loved one evaluated by 2 qualified clinical professionals, one of whom is a doctor.

In some states, involuntary treatment may only be mandated for 72 hours, but in some cases, that may be long enough for detox.

Involuntary Detox: Court-Ordered

Another method of committing a loved one to addiction treatment comes via the criminal justice system.

There is more than one way that the court can intervene. In some cases, legal pressure is applied to inspire offenders to attend drug abuse treatment and/or detox. In addition, treatment can actually be mandated by the court. It is often a requirement for probation, parole, and pre-trial release.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) asserts “A large percentage of those admitted to drug abuse treatment cite legal pressure as an important reason for seeking treatment.” Without this intervention, many of them would never have participated in detox and treatment and they would have missed out on the chance to recover.

Does It Work?

This is the big question, right? Is it worth pushing your loved one into treatment? Will they resent you and fail to fully participate in the treatment? Will you end up with an addict and an irreparable relationship after they exit treatment?

Don’t worry. NIDA insists treatment doesn’t need to be voluntary to be effective. Family, employer, and court mandated treatment and detox have been proven to “increase treatment entry, retention rates, and the ultimate success of drug treatment interventions.”

If you feel like you have tried every way that you can think of to get your loved one into detox and treatment, you may still have options. Contact our free helpline to explore those options. Give us a call at 800-996-6135(Who Answers?) .

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