Here’s the Truth! 

The truth about addiction recovery is shocking. Only one in ten Americans enter some form of recovery for drug addiction, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse or NIDA. The group also says that about 20 million Americans meet the criteria for having a substance use disorder. In other words, there are millions of people who could truly use help, but aren’t getting it. If your loved one is in the grips of addiction, the desire to help them is strong. In this article we’ll answer a question that so many have asked: Can you admit someone into rehab against their will? We’ll discuss some possible pathways for you to explore and a bill that’s making it easier for some to get help for their loved ones. 

Can You Admit Someone into Rehab Against Their Will? 

So, can you? For the most part, no, you can’t. In most states it’s simply not legal. There’s no existing legislation that would allow a person to admit their friend, or even family member, into a drug rehab program without getting their consent. Don’t lose hope because of this. First of all, there are some pathways (which we’ll discuss below) that do give people this option – but these pathways don’t exist in every municipality in every state. That said, all many addicted people need is a little push, then they go to rehab and get onto the right track. Sometimes navigating these waters alone is too much, and the addicted person wants to know their loved one has their back. Suggesting rehab and coming up with an action plan is often what’s needed. Many addicts want help – they want to get clean and/or sober. If you present your loved one with a plan for rehab, that may be all they need to decide to go voluntarily. 

Can You Force a Family Member Into Rehab?

If your loved one is a minor, you may have an opportunity to get them into rehab without their outright approval. That’s because the parent or guardian of a minor has some rights that the parents of adults don’t have. So, yes, you may be able to get a minor family member into a rehab. Now, let’s discuss adults. 

Involuntary Commitment Laws  

There are a set of laws called “Involuntary commitment laws.” These laws vary by state. They allow a person to commit their loved one to involuntary treatment for the purposes of mental health rehabilitation. In the case of substance abuse disorder, the burden of proof is even larger than with a mental health condition. Let’s break it down. 

The addicted person is required to have access to an attorney. The attorney is there to represent them and meet their needs. If the person doesn’t have the monetary assets to get an attorney on their own, they will be given a court-appointed attorney. In any and all states that have involuntary commitment laws on the books, the addicted person has rights that will be looked after by the attorney. One example of this is the right to petition for habeas corpus writ. This can be done at any stage after the addicted person has been committed to a rehab facility. The purpose of a habeas corpus writ is to establish the legality of the detainment. If the person was illegally detained they’ll be released. But, if procedures are followed and everything turns out to be legal, they’ll remain in rehab. 

The length of time a person is admitted to rehab depends, but, typically, the treatment lasts for a period of two weeks. Once the person is released, another set of decisions is made. First of all, if the rehab deems them capable of being on their own they’ll be released to an outpatient facility. But as long as the person is in involuntary commitment they’re beholden to the terms of the commitment. So, if they fail to comply with outpatient rehab, they can be admitted right back into a more intensive inpatient program. 

To commit someone based on these laws, you’ll need to prove the following:

Getting Help in California with Virtual Treatment Center 

If you’re reading this and you live in California, there are certain programs available to you. California 5150 is a bill that allows you to initiate a mental health assessment for a loved one. So, if you think your loved one is abusing alcohol or drugs, this is one avenue for you to go down. But, before you go through with pursuing a 5150, you’re probably wondering if forcing someone into rehab works.The truth is, the answer to that question is largely unknown. There isn’t a ton of hard data on the subject. What we do know is that a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration SAMHSA report, released in 2016, shows that many of the patients who are admitted to drug addiction treatment, go there unwillingly. In fact, one out of three patients attend treatment solely because of compulsory court-ordered programs. If you think about it, addicticts who attend treatment because of a court-ordered program are likely just as “happy” to be there as those who attend rehab because they were forced by a loved one. So, these two groups are more similar than you likely would have imagined. Now, getting back to the question of “is it really effective,” existing data says that those who attend rehab because of a court mandate are as likely to complete rehab as those who are there on their own. Treatment outcomes between the two groups don’t vary in a significant way. Furthermore, those who are coerced into treatment may even stay in rehab for longer periods than those who weren’t coerced. This is according to NIDA. Whatever the reason for getting into rehab, the truth is, it works. 

Virtual Treatment Center: Who Are We? 

At Virtual Treatment Center, we believe quality addiction recovery and mental health services should be easily accessible to those that want or need them, because ease of accessibility is what most often leads to success. That’s why we’re committed to providing top-tier virtual mental health teletherapy and addiction recovery services to all residents of California. Although we’re located in Orange County, our online teletherapy can be accessed throughout the state. In addition to providing addiction recovery services, we treat a variety of mental health issues and offer Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT),Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT). Our teletherapy sessions are done via two-way, live interactive video or by telephone. Therapeutic visits are conducted on Zoom most often, or on other virtual platforms that adhere to HIPAA compliance requirements.