How Effective has the Marchman Act in Florida Been?

In case you are not familiar with the Marchman Act it is the ability to legally petition the courts requesting that someone you love be court ordered into substance abuse treatment. If you think that someone you love is an addict and needs help but refuses, you can force them to go, with the aid of the courts. This is a type of intervention that is legal in Florida.

The Marchman Act is a very powerful tool. If you are the spouse of an addict or a blood relative you have the right to petition the courts to seek treatment for a loved one. Otherwise, three non related people who know about an individual’s substance abuse problem can do so.

Those who petition the courts must be able to prove that the individual is an addict and lacks control. It must be proven that this person may indeed die if they don’t get help and they are unable to make rational decisions regarding their well being.

Once help from the court is sought they will order that the individual be assessed and then stabilized within five days. The court then receives a recommendation regarding the person and they are ordered to complete treatment for as long as deemed necessary.

If the individual refuses to go to treatment or leaves treatment they will have violated a court order and will need to go back in front of the judge where they will either return to treatment or go to jail. This power of the courts makes the Marchman Act very effective.

Many who have heard about the Marchman Act believe that residency in Florida is a requirement but it is not. The individual must be physically in Florida to get the process going, residency or not. There is no need to retain an attorney to file the petition but some people do choose to do so.

Having a loved one who needs substance abuse treatment but refuses to go is very frustrating and worrisome. Sometimes it is worth it to find a way to get this person to Florida to initiate the process of the Marchman Act. Is this something you might consider to save a loved one?

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