Florida law can help fight back against the opioid crisis

In many states across the country, daily headlines refer to yet another person who has lost his or her battle with an opioid addiction. The background story usually reveals that friends and family tried to help but could not convince their loved one, often an adult, to get treatment. As a result, friends and family are left with a sense of failure and guilt. However, in Florida, now friends, family members and those battling addiction do not have to suffer the same fate. 

The Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act of 1993, commonly referred to as the Marchman Act, may be that one thing that forces your addicted loved one to get treatment. In Florida, if certain criteria are met, you may be able to force someone to get treatment before it is too late. If your loved one is substance abuse impaired (an addict), has lost self-control as it pertains to the substance abuse, has inflicted or will likely inflict physical harm on himself or herself unless placed in treatment, and is not voluntarily seeking treatment because his or her judgment is so impaired by the substance abuse, it may be appropriate to file a petition seeking involuntary services – i.e., involuntary drug/rehabilitative treatment pursuant to the Marchman Act.

Obtaining a court order requiring involuntary services is a multi-step process and involves more than just your assertions regarding the level of addiction and need for treatment. Additionally, Florida law provides that persons receiving treatment pursuant to the Marchman Act have the right to individual dignity, including but not limited to the right not to be detained or incarcerated in jails (with limited exceptions), the right to quality of services, the right to confidentiality of records, and the right to counsel. With that said, preparing and filing the necessary paperwork with the court seeking a court order requiring involuntary treatment is a swift process. 

Knowledge of the law and the possibility of obtaining a court order to require much needed treatment is power – power to potentially save your loved ones life. 

McDonald Hopkins attorneys can assist you in drafting the documents to get this process started. If you have any questions about the Marchman Act or how this law can help you, your family, or a loved one, please contact the attorney below.

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