Many families concerned about a loved one suffering from addiction have wondered what states can you force someone into rehab. Laws regarding involuntary commitment for addiction treatment have followed a long and winding road since the first was legislated in 1812.
Currently, most states have involuntary commitment laws for substance use disorders. A few states also have involuntary commitment laws for substance use disorders only and states with involuntary commitment laws for specifically alcoholism only. While some states do not currently have laws of this nature, many are now considering adopting them. Several states are currently in the process of revising their laws in response to the increasing numbers of people dying from alcohol or drug overdose.
About Involuntary Commitment Laws
Many states have adopted laws that allow parties who are closely connected to individuals suffering from addiction to petition for the involuntary commitment of the addicted individual. Generally speaking—and it should be noted that requirements for these laws differ considerably between states—family members may file a petition for their loved one to be placed in rehab if that person has threatened to harm themselves or someone else or if they can no longer provide for their basic needs.
Currently, 37 states have created statutes that allow individuals suffering from addiction to be detained against their will for a short period of time even if they have committed no crime. Nuances of law aside, many families simply want to know in which states can you force someone into rehab in order to save their lives?
In What States Can You Force Someone Into Rehab?
Currently, the states that allow for involuntary commitment for alcoholism or substance use disorder are:
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
If you’ve asked in what states can you force someone into rehab, these are the states that currently have laws on the books. Some states not currently listed, such as New Jersey, Alabama and Maryland, are debating measures to put in place.
Pros and Cons of Involuntary Commitment Laws
Having wondered in what states you can force someone into rehab, you might also be wondering why some states have not created these laws. There is criticism from some quarters that these laws infringe on individuals’ rights, especially if the involuntary commitment extends beyond medical detox.
Some experts believe that involuntary commitment increases the chance for overdose upon release from rehab; many individuals who leave rehab after a short stay may not have the desire to abstain or the necessary relapse-prevention skills to promote long-term recovery.
Even so, when families are faced with the strong possibility that their loved one is in danger, they often have no other option except to petition a healthcare provider or the courts to involuntarily commit their loved one to an addiction treatment center. If you are contemplating this decision concerning a loved one or if you are concerned that your family might be considering this step, research the specific statutes associated with your state.