In most programs of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, the emphasis is on the alcoholic or drug addict having the willingness to change their way of life. But what if you are the family member or loved ones of someone suffering from the disease of addiction that, while in that disease, is unwilling to receive professional help? Perhaps they are suffering from a dual-diagnosis of addiction and another mental disorder that makes them incapable of seeking the help they so desperately need. The good news is that there are legal steps you can take in order to get someone the help the need. Implementing assistance from alternative sources such as the Baker Act can help.
The Florida Mental Health Act of 1971, more commonly known as the Baker Act, permits an individual to be institutionalized and examined involuntarily. The bill’s more popular name comes from Florida State Representative Maxine Baker. Rep. Baker sponsored the bill, served as chairperson on the House Committee on Mental Health, and crusaded to reform antiquated mental health laws in the state of Florida. The Baker Act allows for the involuntary psychiatric holding of a person if they either potentially suffer from a mental illness, or if they are threat to the safety of themselves or others. Under the Baker Act, a judge, law enforcement official, doctor, or mental health professional can initiate emergency commitment and examination. Theses emergency examinations can last up to 3 days, and can result in either voluntary placement in an inpatient treatment program, or involuntary placement in an inpatient or intensive outpatient (IOP) program.
The Marchman Act is another Florida Statute similar to the Baker Act that enables family members of someone in need of help to be placed involuntarily in a program if they are unwilling to seek help themselves. For a person to meet the criteria of the Marchman Act in the state of Florida, they must be considered to have lost the power of self-control with regards to substance abuse. The person must also be either a danger to themselves of others, or must be deemed incapable of making a rational decision about seeking help due to impairment from drugs and alcohol. They are then required to complete a court-ordered assessment, which may take up to 5 days, and may be then remanded to a treatment center.
For families dealing with a member who has had a psychotic break with reality due to drug or alcohol abuse, the Baker Act and Marchman Act are powerful tools for people in otherwise hopeless situations. If you have a loved one who is resistant to getting the professional help they need to treat their drug or alcohol dependence, you can petition the courts to invoke the Baker or Marchman Acts on their behalf. It is also important that you speak to someone in the addiction treatment or mental health field before pursuing a course of action, because they can give you some much-needed direction, and even recommend an inpatient of outpatient treatment center for you family member or loved one to attend after their evaluation. The general rule of thumb is that a spouse, family member, relative, guardian, or even 3 adults who have knowledge of the person’s substance abuse can petition the courts for an emergency psychiatric hold under these acts.
If you know someone in Florida who needs immediate help with their addiction, but refuses to get the help they need, you can contact us here at Drug Treatment Center Finder to speak to a professional in the field of addiction and dual-diagnosis.