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A Guide to Getting Court Ordered Rehab for a Loved One

Court ordered rehab may be ideal for your loved one if they’ve committed or been accused of a drug-related crime and need help recovering from a substance use disorder. Going to court ordered rehab can help some people avoid incarceration for non-violent crimes surrounding illicit drug use while allowing them to overcome drug dependence and addiction at the same time.

If your loved one has committed a drug-related crime, understand that help for family members of drug addicts is available to steer your loved one back toward a sober, healthy lifestyle.

Here’s how to get someone court ordered rehab, along with treatments that can help your loved one achieve sobriety.

What is Court Ordered Rehab & How Does it Work?

court ordered rehab

Court ordered rehab can help your loved one recover!

Court ordered rehab is usually made available to those facing imprisonment for a non-violent drug-related crime. Examples of drug-related crimes may include possession or trafficking of drugs, illegal behavior caused by drug abuse and dependence, and crimes directly related to drugs such as stealing money to buy drugs. People accused of committing these crimes can usually replace jail or prison sentences with court ordered rehab.

Drugs and alcohol can impair a person’s judgment and cause them to engage in risky behaviors that get them into trouble. Anyone who struggles with addiction can get caught up in committing various drug crimes that allow them to fuel their addiction. For instance, your friendly neighbor who suffers from painkiller addiction may head to the streets for heroin or counterfeit painkillers after their prescription runs out, and get caught for illicit drug possession.

Court ordered rehab can help drug offenders recover from addiction and improve their lives without having to worry about a criminal record. Many states will wipe your loved one’s record clean if they follow through and comply with their mandatory addiction treatment. Court ordered rehab can also shock your loved one into understanding the consequences of drug abuse, and forces them to choose between becoming healthier and sober, or serving time in jail or prison for their drug crime.

How to Get Someone Court Ordered Rehab

Court ordered rehab is usually only an option for people who have been accused of a non-violent drug-related crime. Many times, this option requires your loved one to plead guilty to their crime or make a deal with their attorney surrounding going to rehab. If your loved one has not yet been accused of a drug-related crime but is engaging in illicit drug activities, you may be able to pursue them legally and suggest that they agree to court ordered rehab.

Evidence suggests that outcomes for those who go to court ordered rehab are as good as or better than those who aren’t legally ordered to visit rehab. People who go to court ordered rehab also tend to have higher attendance rates and stick with treatment for longer periods than their non-court ordered counterparts.

Here are steps for how to get someone court ordered rehab.

Learn How Court Ordered Rehab Works in Your State

Before you start seeking court ordered rehab for your loved one, find out whether your jurisdiction offers this option to non-violent drug offenders. Begin your search online to learn more about how court ordered rehab works in your county, or contact your county or state’s judicial district court to ask about court ordered rehab. Many states do honor court ordered rehab programs since addiction treatment costs are usually a fraction of the cost of incarceration. The societal cost of addiction treatment is estimated to be around $14.6 billion per year, while costs surrounding incarceration and drug-related crime are around $113 billion.

If your loved one has already been convicted of a non-violent drug-related crime, the court may prepare to order mandatory addiction treatment during the pretrial phase. But if you plan on reporting your loved one’s illegal drug activity to the authorities, it’s good to know ahead of time whether court ordered rehab is an option.

Determine Whether Your Loved One Qualifies

Not everyone who commits a non-violent drug crime can escape jail or prison time and go to court ordered rehab. For instance, a drug dealer who’s convicted for selling cocaine and who doesn’t suffer from a substance use disorder wouldn’t qualify to receive addiction treatment.

Each state and jurisdiction may have its own unique qualifications. Court ordered rehab may be available to those who meet the following qualifications:

  • The person committed a non-violent crime
  • The person has no history of violent or sexual crime
  • The person has no other drug-related crime in their history
  • The crime was committed as a direct or indirect result of drug dependence
  • The person qualifies for probation
  • The person has been diagnosed with a substance use disorder
  • The court thinks the person can benefit from treatment for substance use disorders
  • The person is willing to comply with addiction treatment

If your loved one meets any of the above conditions, it’s possible they may benefit from and be eligible for court ordered rehab.

Help Your Loved One Understand the Importance of Treatment

Though your loved one may be adamant about not seeking addiction treatment, now’s the time to be honest about why you really want them to get help. Explain to the person that you love and care about them, and that you want them to receive treatment so they can become healthier and happier, and improve their livelihood. This is important because your loved one may feel betrayed after they learn about the role you may have played in getting them court ordered rehab.

Past evidence stated that the majority of people who receive court ordered rehab have a low motivation to change, and that highly motivated individuals are more likely to achieve long-term sobriety and behavior change. But more recent evidence suggests that addiction treatment doesn’t need to be voluntary to be effective, and that those who go to court ordered rehab to overcome drug use disorders experience outcomes that are just as good or better than their non-court ordered counterparts.

Call now to find treatment programs for your loved one.

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Help Facilitate the Court Order

After learning more about how court ordered rehab works in your jurisdiction, inform your loved one about the benefits of trying for this option. Explain to your loved one that they must plead guilty for their drug-related crime, and accept court ordered rehab as a condition of avoiding or lessening incarceration time. You can also help facilitate the court order by explaining to your loved one’s lawyer about the desire and need for rehab so your loved one can avoid incarceration.

Support Your Loved One Through Their Recovery

Court ordered rehab can be facilitated in an inpatient or outpatient setting depending on the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s drug use disorder, and on the types of treatment centers contracted by the court. Your loved one may have the option to recover at a residential substance abuse treatment center, or be placed under house arrest where they can leave their homes to go to work and treatment sessions. Regardless of the program type they join, make sure you stay close in touch with your loved one so you can continue cheering them on throughout recovery.

Remove all drugs and alcohol from the home, and encourage your loved one to participate in fun, sober activities. Create a healthy environment that fosters positivity and motivation to help your loved one feel better about their recovery and about the direction their life is headed.

How Else Can I Get Someone into Rehab?

If court ordered rehab isn’t an option for your loved one, or your loved one is continuing to abuse drugs and engage in illicit activity without getting caught, there are other steps you can take to urge them into addiction treatment.

Emergency Involuntary Treatment

Some jurisdictions allow you to commit your loved one to a drug rehab center involuntarily using an emergency court order. For instance, Massachusetts has a law called Section 35 that allows relatives, law enforcement officers, doctors, and other select parties to check people into rehab without their consent. This would require you to fill out an official order of commitment form, and wait for the court to review your loved one’s case and determine whether they need rehab. Each jurisdiction has its own rules and qualifications surrounding emergency involuntary treatment.

Emergency involuntary treatment requires your loved one to undergo a mental health and addiction screening conducted by doctors and a police officer. Many times, your loved one must be diagnosed with a substance use disorder and be deemed likely to hurt themselves or another. For example, if your loved one is abusing drugs that cause feelings of aggression and violence such as cocaine, methamphetamine, or PCP, an emergency court order may be the right thing to do if you think your loved one may hurt someone.

Hold an Intervention

Staging an intervention can help you convince your loved one to receive treatment, but can also be difficult to facilitate if your loved one is still refusing to get help. If you need help holding an intervention, hire an intervention specialist who can guide you through setting it up, and who can teach you how to convince your loved one to go to rehab if they’re not cooperating. Then, form an intervention group comprised of close friends and family invested in your loved one’s recovery from addiction. Consider inviting a doctor to the intervention, who can assure your loved one that today’s drug detox treatments and therapies are safe and can lend to a more comfortable recovery.

Give Ultimatums

If your desire to seek court ordered rehab for an addicted loved one stems from being used and abused by that person, it may be time for you to start issuing ultimatums. Stop being an enabler, and quit putting up with your loved one’s behaviors and consequences surrounding their addiction. You may be an enabler if you continue giving your loved one money to pay for drugs and alcohol, or if you continue letting them use drugs and alcohol in your home.

Living with someone who suffers from addiction can put your own health and well-being at risk, especially if you’re also in recovery from addiction or are subject to physical abuse from your loved one. Putting your foot down and giving ultimatums could force your loved one into treatment if they have nowhere else to go, and nobody else to turn to.

Finding Treatment for Your Loved One

Today, there are countless detox treatments and therapies your loved one can choose from when they finally accept it’s time for them to overcome addiction. Addiction treatments can be tailored and personalized so your loved one can experience the safest, most fulfilling recovery possible. For instance, if your loved one is refusing treatment because they’re afraid of suffering pain caused by certain withdrawal symptoms, you can help them find a drug detox program that uses medications to relieve symptoms.

Drug and alcohol use disorders can be fully treated using drug detox, therapy, and aftercare. Detox will help your loved one overcome physical dependence on drugs and alcohol, and guide them safely through withdrawal so they face a lowered risk for health complications and relapse. A medical detox in an inpatient environment is one of the safest detox methods, since this allows your loved one to withdraw from drugs and alcohol while being monitored 24/7 by medical staff who minimize complications.

Detox can be followed by therapies that teach your loved one how to live a healthier lifestyle without drugs and alcohol. They’ll learn new ways to manage stress and avoid triggers that lead to drug abuse, and work with therapists who teach them how to change negative thoughts and behaviors that may be driving their addiction. Aftercare programs provide ongoing therapy, counseling, and support group sessions to help your loved one stay sober long-term in the years following their recovery.

Use our online directory to find nearby addiction treatment centers in your city, or call 800-996-6135(Who Answers?) to learn about recovery resources that can empower your recovery.

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