Is There Specific State Legislation About Florida Drug and Alcohol Treatment?

When it comes to Florida legislation and substance abuse, there are a variety of laws that can apply. The Marchman Act is one of the more well-known laws regarding alcohol and drug abuse. This law is designed for individuals facing addiction that refuse to get help. With the Marchman Act, loved ones of these individuals can help their family or friend with a substance use disorder to get the treatment they need.

The Baker Act is another form of Florida legislation that can be used to help individuals with a dual diagnosis receive mandatory treatment. Primarily designed for individuals with mental health illnesses during emergency situations, the Baker Act can also be used to admit someone with both mental health and substance to a rehab facility.

Florida Substance Abuse Legislation: About The Marchman Act 

The Substance Abuse Impairment Act or the Marchman Act is a part of the Florida legislation that allows individuals to receive mandatory treatment for their addiction. This act is also referred to as the Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act.

With the Marchman Act, an individual can be admitted to a rehabilitation facility to receive an assessment or to undergo treatment against their will. This law was put into place so that family members can ensure their loved one receives the necessary treatment to help them through their addiction. In order for this individual to be admitted into treatment, they must be assessed by Florida’s court system in order to determine whether or not they have a substance use disorder.

Understanding Court-Ordered Rehabilitation

While this law does force individuals into treatment without their consent, this is due to the propensity of individuals with substance abuse disorders to deny that they have any problem or addiction to drugs or alcohol. The Marchman Act operates on the idea that if an individual were to see their actions as clearly as their friends and family do, they would understand their need for rehab.

Through the Marchman Act, family members and friends can have the court order their loved ones to go into rehab, medical detox, or a long-term treatment facility. This bit of legislation is lifesaving as most of the individuals that are court-ordered to rehab may have otherwise died if their substance use disorder was left untreated.

Using the Marchman Act to Commit a Loved One

Considering using the Marchman Act to petition the court to have your loved one enter treatment? Family members and friends in Florida of individuals with substance use disorders should consider the following when trying to take advantage of this legislation:

  • The individual no longer has self-control over their substance abuse
  • The individual has threatened, attempted to inflict, inflicted, or is likely to inflict harm on themselves or another person if they aren’t admitted to a rehabilitation facility
  • The individual’s judgment is impaired to the point that they cannot understand their dire need of substance abuse services

Other Florida Legislation Similar to the Marchman Act

The Florida Mental Health Act is another act that governs involuntary and voluntary examinations and treatment of individuals with mental illness outside of substance abuse impairment. Individuals that are facing substance abuse alongside other mental disorders can also be committed to examination or treatment under the Baker Act.

For an individual to qualify for the Baker Act, the following must apply:

  • The individual refuses voluntary examination
  • The individual is not able to determine if an examination is necessary without undergoing treatment
  • The individual is likely to refuse to care for themselves
  • Without treatment or care, this individual is likely to cause bodily harm to themselves or others in the future as indicated by their recent behavior

As the Marchman Act and the Baker act force an individual into treatment by disregarding their will, it is important that families and friends of loved ones with substance use disorders understand the gravity of the situation. Sobriety ultimately must be a choice that each person has to make for themselves. In order for treatment to be effective, every person admitted to treatment must actively choose to be sober, regardless of whether their admittance was mandatory or not.