Can You Force Somebody Into Rehab?

a head resting in another persons shoulder

Yes and no!

Many states, including California, do not have legislation in place that would allow you to admit a family member into rehab without their consent. The states that do have laws that support this will be difficult to enforce because of the evidence required. However, this does not mean hope is lost. Sometimes all it takes to get someone on board with going to rehab is a little push in the right direction. But what about the people who have been to treatment and continually walk out before completing? What to do about those people? What happens when you spend money on intervention and the person doesn’t respond or the intervention is not put together well enough to work? Or perhaps, the intervention works well however the addicted person walks out after just a few days in treatment.

If you need help getting addiction treatment for your loved one, contact our team today.

Let’s look at some of the real issues. A person who is using drugs compulsively or drinking compulsively has lost the ability to choose whether they’re going to drink or not. It is an obsession. An addiction. The addicted person’s problem centers in their brain. It is impossible for them to make sane decisions about getting treatment for themselves and if you are reading this it’s probably because the person you are concerned about is not seeking treatment.

Can You Force a Family Member Into Rehab?

In the United States, to force someone into rehab against their will, it’s not enough to be concerned about their drug or alcohol intake, even if this is blatant and excessive.

In the case of minors, you will have more rights to commit your child to substance abuse treatment than you would with an adult.

In most states with involuntary commitment laws, you will need to prove the following in court:

  • That the person has substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder
  • That the person has already harmed themselves or others, or that they present a significant risk of doing so

In some cases, you may be able to show that the person is so addicted to substances that they are no longer able to provide for their or needs.

The person you feel needs treatment has the right to legal representation, including a court-appointed attorney if they do not have the financial means.

In all states with involuntary commitment laws, the individual committed can petition for a habeas corpus writ at any stage after being committed. The purpose of this is to have a court establish whether the person has been legally detained. If not the individual will be released from treatment commitments.

People committed to involuntary addiction treatment are typically treated for two weeks. If the program administrator feels they are in a position to care for themselves, they can be released to an outpatient facility. If they fail to comply with outpatient treatment, they can be committed to inpatient treatment again.

Just south of San Diego, 40 minutes from the border on the Mexican side, laws are completely different in regard to this issue. Mexican law clearly gives all family members conservatorship rights over another family member that is abusing alcohol or drugs. It is a law That is saving many Americans’ lives. Baja Rehab is an American ran upscale, affordable drug and alcohol treatment center. It is lockdown which means once the client is checked in, they cannot leave until the treatment team and family members say so. Many clients believe they’re going to an Airbnb or going to see a dentist and even going to pick up drugs instead, the land inside of a beautiful Hacienda converted into a drug and alcohol treatment center. Baja Rehab has a 2 Month Treatment Program with the option to extend if necessary.

If you live in California, and you want to take advantage of California 5150 to initiate a mental health assessment for a loved one abusing drink or drugs, you may be questioning whether forcing someone into rehab works.

Unfortunately, there is still not much hard data to chew on here. SAMHSA reports from 2016, though, show that as many as one in three of all patients admitted for addiction treatment from 2004 through 2014 were admitted via compulsory court-ordered programs. These patients typically have no more interest in seeking addiction treatment than someone involuntarily committed by family. In spite of this, the same data shows that treatment outcomes were not significantly different, regardless of whether the individual entered rehab voluntarily or not.

Beyond this, NIDA suggests that those coerced into treatment for substance abuse often stay in treatment for longer, with equally positive and sometimes more favorable outcomes than those who attended treatment voluntarily.

Now, in the ideal scenario, you will manage to break through any denial, get your loved one to admit they have a problem, and then concede to following through with treatment. In some cases, this may occur organically, and in others, you may need a formal intervention.

Addiction is a disease that leads to changes in the function and structure of the brain, leading to loss of control and making poor choices. This means that even if it seems abundantly clear your loved one needs treatment, they may not see it that way.

If so and if you need to proceed with legal action to get them the help they need, we hope today’s snapshot of involuntary commitment to addiction treatment has given you hope.

For anyone able not to convince their loved one of the need to get help, or have the serious fear of losing their loved one to an overdose, the Mexican law is on your side. An immediate intervention done on the facility as well as the lockdown approach is very effective and works 100% of the time. There’s no wiggle room. As long as a family member can get the addicted family member to the facility, the intervention can take place, Detox can start and recovery can begin.