Recovery Center Blog

Can You Force Someone To Go To Rehab?

Written By Recovery Centers - April 26th, 2022
Can You Force Someone To Go To Rehab?

If you have been watching someone you love struggle with addiction, you’re probably desperate to get them the help that they need. In some cases, a simple conversation can open the door for change. In others, an intervention led by a qualified professional might be necessary in order to get the individual struggling to get help.

However, if you’ve tried talking it out or even sought outside help and your loved one still refused to seek treatment for their substance abuse disorder you might feel hopeless. You may be scared for your loved one’s life and be willing to do whatever it takes to get them to check into a local rehab center. Especially when considering that in 2020, drug overdose rates in the US reached an 11-year high.

You may be willing to do anything for someone you care about to attend a drug or alcohol addiction treatment center. But don’t despair! Though it may sound harsh, there are many ways to force someone to go to rehab in order to get your loved one the help that they need in order to make a full recovery.

What are Involuntary Commitment Laws?

As the name implies, involuntary commitment laws apply to those who do not voluntarily seek treatment at a rehab facility but rather are committed by others against their will. While this measure may sound extreme, these laws are in place to help protect the rights of families who seek to protect the interest and lives of their loved ones. These laws are in place in 37 states in the US.

Involuntary commitment laws do protect the rights of patients, too! Beyond their right to life and treatment, involuntary commitment laws do respect their right as an individual and the bar for proving that someone needs to be forced into rehab is high. But how exactly should you go about this?

How Do Involuntary Commitment Laws Work?

In order to force someone to go to rehab, you have to take them to court. If you are the parent or guardian of a minor who is seeking to have that minor sent to rehab, then it will likely be much easier for you to achieve your goal.

If, however, your loved one is of legal age, then it will be much more difficult. The bar is very high since the measure is extreme. The burden of proof will fall on you and your lawyer as a plaintiff to prove that your loved one poses a threat to themselves or others. Alternatively, you may instead be able to prove that your loved one is so incapacitated by their drug or alcohol addiction that they are no longer able to provide for their own basic needs.

In cases like these, your loved one is entitled to an attorney. If they cannot afford an attorney themselves, the state will assign a public defender to represent them for the duration of the case. Depending upon what state you live in, the laws will vary to some degree. In some states, the type of substance addiction that qualifies for involuntary commitment is different than in others. If you feel this measure is necessary, you should seek out a licensed attorney to advise you on how to proceed.

Alternative Ways to Force Someone To Go to Rehab

The only other route to court-ordered rehab for your loved one is through the drug courts. Drug courts often divert non-violent offenders with Substance Abuse Disorders (SUD) from prison sentences, to supervised treatment programs. Instead of punishing such offenders, the court seeks to offer a chance at rehabilitation.

As of 2015, almost 30% of those aged 12 and up who received treatment for their substance abuse disorder, were court-ordered attendees. But, there is one caveat. In order to be eligible for court-ordered rehab through this diversion, a defendant must have committed a crime, plead guilty, charged, and must agree to rehab as an alternative to prison time.

Does Court-Ordered Rehab Work?

You might worry that if you force someone to go to rehab, the treatment will be wasted. After all, the old adage is that “you can’t help someone who won’t help themselves,” right? Not exactly true in this case. Research published by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, shows that those whose loved ones force them to go to rehab tend to complete and perform just as well as those who voluntarily enroll. Some even outperform those who enter rehab of their own volition!

So, if you are out of options and terrified of what the future holds for someone you love who is struggling with a substance abuse disorder, continue to hope and fight for their well-being. Once they have conquered their addiction they will be grateful for your love, support, and intervention on their behalf.

Explore Treatment Options for Your Loved One Today

If you are dealing with the painful reality of watching someone that you love suffer in the throes of addiction, then it can be impossibly overwhelming trying to explore treatment options on your own.

At Recovery Centers, our compassionate, trained professionals are here to help guide you through the process of finding rehabilitation programs that provide the highest caliber of care so that you can rest easy knowing that the well-being of your loved one is in good hands. Call us today to learn more about how to find a reputable treatment center near you.