Is it Possible to Force an Addict into Rehab?

A mother arguing with her teen daughter

Drug addiction is a very difficult and chaotic problem to deal with. Getting an addict the help they need can be even more challenging. Rehabilitation can be viewed negatively because it reminds the addict of a time they felt the pain and trauma of withdrawal. Family and friends try anything they possibly can to get a loved one into rehab. Addicts will use anything and everything they can to forgo rehabilitation. Treatment is essential to recover from addiction, especially since drug related deaths have eclipsed the deaths from traffic accidents. The American Psychiatric Assn. states that less than 10% of patients with substance abuse disorders seek treatment and that most do so because of external pressure. What can families do if the addict in their lives refuses to get help? Is it possible to force an addict into rehab?

The Law

When attempting to get a loved one into rehab, it is important to know your rights and theirs. There are several states that allow families to legally force family members into treatment. There are even more states that are pushing to have these laws. Although, this is not as easy as it would seem. Families cannot simply drop off their addicted loved one at the door step and drive off. For example, in Florida the Marchman Act allows for families and friends to force addict loved ones into treatment. A spouse, partner, or group of friends must prove to the court that the person is a hazard to themselves and others. The court can issue an order forcing them into treatment.

Does it Work

The act of getting a court order to force an addict into rehab can at the very least get that individual to see their addiction. It forces them to see the damage they are causing themselves and those around them. It is widely believed that an addict must accept treatment for it to be successful, but recent studies have shown that the results from treating willing and unwilling addicts are negligible. Especially since not doing anything, allowing the addict to continue to abuse drugs, does not help the situation. Families that are struggling to get their addicted loved one help should look into forcible rehabilitation sentencing.


There are thousands of treatment centers across the country that offer a plethora of treatment program options. Picking the right one for you or a loved one can seem like a daunting task. The main issues to consider are price, location, drug, and program. By analyzing these four categories, an addict and their families can feel better about going to rehab. Each individual addict is different and the drugs they use cause different reactions. Therefore the program should be uniquely created for the addicts needs. These programs and facilities are as different as the individuals that come there, but they all focus on same basic foundation. The first is detoxification, where the body is flushed of any drug/toxins that are remaining. Some rehabs offer medications that reduce the trauma of detox. These medications are offered for the more severe drugs and drug user, which might be mandatory because of health and safety hazardous. The most beneficial detox is the natural way, in which the body flushes the toxins without the use of medications; which can substitute one drug or another. The second stage requires the addict to participate in several self-finding therapies. The third, stage requires the recovering addict to complete various tasks that increase their self-reliance, self-confidence, and problem solving skills. The combination of these holistic-style stages help an addict overcome addiction and pursue a healthy and happy life.



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