Under Florida Marchman Act, treatment for substance abuse may be voluntary or involuntary. A person can seek assessment, and possible treatment for substance abuse voluntarily and enter treatment on their own. Involuntary treatment under the Marchman Act applies to patients who may need services for substance abuse treatment but refuse to seek out those services for themselves. A petition can be filed under the Marchman Act if someone is impaired by their substance abuse that forces them to receive treatment. The petition must show:
- The person no longer has any self-control regarding their substance use.
- Substance abuse has impaired a person’s judgment, and they do not see a need for treatment.
- A person has harmed, threatened, attempted to harm or is likely to harm themselves or someone else due to substance abuse.
Florida Marchman Act for Non-Family Members
Under the Marchman Act, a spouse, blood relative, treating physician, or three people who know about a person’s substance abuse can force someone to be treated for substance abuse. Florida Marchman Act includes an option for non-family members to make this request because some people do not have any family to make such a decision for them. If a person is underage, the only people who can make an involuntary request are a minor’s parents, a legal guardian, or a treating physician. However, a minor may seek voluntary admission for substance abuse without the consent of parents or a guardian.
Petition for persons who refuse to seek substance abuse treatment
A petition only needs to be filed if the person refuses to seek substance abuse treatment voluntarily. The assistance of an attorney is not required to file a request with the court under the Florida Marchman Act, but there are attorneys who specialize in helping people through the process required under the law. A law enforcement officer can also place someone in protective custody under the Florida Marchman Act if they do something in a public place that makes the officer believe they could need substance abuse treatment, or if they do something that attracts the attention of the officer.
After a petition is filed with the court, a hearing is held before a judge to decide if a person will be held involuntarily for five days to decide whether they need treatment for substance abuse. After the assessment, a recommendation is made to the court and another hearing is held. At that hearing, the judge can decide whether to order the person to remain in treatment for 60 days. The judge can later extend the treatment period by another 90 days. If the person leaves the treatment program, they are ordered into court to explain to the judge why they left. The person can return to the program voluntarily and participate in the substance abuse program. If they refuse to do so, they may be forced back to treatment or they can be put in jail.
The release procedures
The procedures for the release of a person receiving substance abuse treatment under the Marchman Act are also different from those for a person who seeks treatment voluntarily. Only a qualified professional can release a person who was involuntarily ordered to get treatment for their addiction. Otherwise, a judge must issue a court order for the person to be released. The facility providing the substance abuse treatment must notify the people who requested the treatment about the release. A person who has been involuntarily ordered to receive substance abuse treatment can make a request to the court that questions the reasons and legal authority for their treatment. Explore the options available if an important person in your life is struggling with substance abuse. Sometimes a qualified intervention can get a loved one into treatment without the heavy hand of the Marchman Act.