The Marchman Act is for the protection of loved ones struggling with drug addiction and alcoholism.
There are several states across the country that are having their own trials and tribulations with the opiate addiction epidemic. There are several states that offer laws similar to The Marchman Act to protect addicts or alcoholics from themselves. According to the Sun Sentinal, Palm Beach saw 375 people die from heroin overdose in 2016. The deaths caused by Fentanyl overdoses has raised many questions with members of the community. The biggest question asked, “How do we stop the tragic deaths from happening?” For many family members and loved ones of addicts getting their loved one into treatment for addiction can be difficult, but necessary. Many times, when a loved one is asked to seek help for their addiction they deny they have a problem. However, if a loved one resists going to treatment, Florida has what is called The Marchman Act. This Law provides mandatory involuntary commitment of someone who is struggling with a substance abuse problem.
What’s the History of The Marchman Acts?
The Marchman Enactment is a Florida state law passed in 1993. The law was created to allow family and friends to petition the court to commit someone to mandatory treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. The purpose of the law is to mimic the same laws for involuntary commitment due to mental health issues.
At 18 a person is a legal adult, they can’t be forced to get treatment for anything, unless they are in a state of danger to themselves or others. If someone is struggling with mental illness or addiction, they can be a threat to their own lives and may not have good judgment to seek help for themselves. The Marchman Act was passed to aid in the involuntary admission to drug and alcohol treatment. If their addiction is life threatening and their incapable of seeking help for themselves, The Marchman Act addresses this issue by forcefully admitting someone into treatment involuntarily.
How Does the Marchman Act Work?
If someone is suffering from a condition which impairs their judgment, all people have the right to proper medical treatment. The Marchman Act in Florida won’t allow for just anyone to be confined to treatment automatically. There are several steps one must go through to ensure that the person in question can be committed to drug and alcohol treatment. This alleviates any other options at the hands of the person so that they may not be thrown into treatment unnecessarily.
To get your petition for The Marchman Act approved, a husband or wife, relative, or a group of relatives, must file the petition. The people who file the petition have to fill out the court approved packet describing in length how the loved one in question is in danger for their life or others due to their addiction issues.
To get The Marchman Act approved, the family must prove:
- The individual is powerless over their drug usage or alcoholism
- The individual is going to harm themselves or others as a direct result of their substance use
- The individual doesn’t have the capacity to seek help or even that they need it.
- They’re unwilling to get help.
What Happens Once The Marchman Act Petition is Approved?
Once the petition has been filed, there is a court hearing to determine whether the individual in question needs to be court ordered to treatment. If it’s deemed necessary, the person will be sent to detox and assessed for 3-5 days. After that, the individual may be court ordered to a drug and alcohol treatment facility for 60 days. Once they are through that period of 60-day drug and alcohol treatment, they may be mandated to another 90 days of drug and alcohol treatment. Once they have completed the required treatment the individual will be released based upon what the court decides. Many people will decide to continue drug and alcohol treatment and follow the court order because the alternative is incarceration.
Marchman Act Pros and Cons
On one side of the looking glass many believe the drug and alcohol treatment won’t work unless the person is willing to get the help. On the flip-side, sometimes addiction is so powerful, it strips us of the ability to make rational decisions. The Marchman Act has saved many lives in the process of getting them valid drug and alcohol treatment and long term care for addiction. Marchman Act makes the decision for the people incapable of making the decision for themselves. The Marchman Act is a great option for those who’ve run out of options.
If a loved one is afflicted with addiction or alcoholism, they have a good chance of recovery is they receive quality treatment that truly addresses the underlying factors attributed to the drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on The Marchman Act or how to get help please call 844-207-7772