Watching a friend or loved one struggle with addiction is extremely difficult. It can be especially hard for parents. Compelled by the innate desire to protect their children from harm, most parents do whatever they can to make the addiction “go away.”

For some parents, this can include pushing their children to get professional help. But can parents force drug rehab on their children? How does drug rehab work, anyway? Call 833.999.1941 to speak with someone from the caring and compassionate team at Solution Based Treatment & Detox about these queries and our addiction treatment programs in California.

Can Drug Rehab Be Forced? What to Know About Involuntary Addiction Treatment

Did you know that only 11% of people who need substance use disorder (SUD) treatment receive professional care? In addition, fatal overdoses in the United States have almost tripled since 1999. With such alarming SUD statistics, it’s no wonder that families, friends, and legislators are looking to involuntary treatment as a possible solution to slow the crisis.

In its simplest form, involuntary treatment means forcing someone to go to rehab against their will. Because of the compulsory nature of the order, it’s been difficult for legislators to decide whether or not this kind of action can and should be considered legal. But that hasn’t stopped anxious parents from calling treatment facilities and local, state, and federal agencies asking if they can force their child to go to rehab.

In response to this outcry, the advocacy group National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws (NAMSDL) helped pass laws in 37 of 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, making it legal for parents and friends to involuntary commit a loved one into alcohol or drug rehab treatment facilities.

While this legislation might feel like a relief for many parents, there are specific requirements they must meet before taking this action. They are:

  • First, parents or friends must prove that their loved one is, in fact, addicted to drugs or alcohol. Generally, this also includes evidence that the loved one has threatened, attempted, or inflicted actual harm on themselves or others or proof that they will harm others. Courts often accept proof that drugs debilitate the person and that they can’t provide for their basic needs.
  • After this proof is received, the court schedules a hearing. As a result of due process, individuals that are in the process of being committed against their will do have the right to attorney representation. The court or a third-party agency can appoint legal representation if they don’t have an attorney.

After the judge grants approval, parents, family members, and friends can proceed with involuntary commitment.

Does Forcing Rehab Work?

Though legal, the effectiveness of involuntary commitment depends on whether facilities have the space and capacity to treat these individuals and whether individuals forced into treatment recover. According to data published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in 2016, as many as 33% of people admitted to rehab between 2004 and 2014 were admitted through court programs. Though these individuals were not forced into rehab by family or friends, they were still forced into treatment against their will. Most seemed to benefit from the process, according to the findings.

However, recent data published by Harvard Medical School suggests involuntary commitment under Section 35 of Massachusetts’ Care Act is especially ineffective. For example, the treatment provided under Section 35 offers counseling and classes to learn more about addiction but rarely mandates evidence-based treatment. The state, known for having one of the highest percentages of opioid use nationwide, published a report proving that people committed against their will were more than twice as likely to overdose than those who enrolled in treatment on their own.

Here at Solution Based Treatment & Detox, we provide comprehensive, customized treatment plans for all our clients, regardless of their enrollment in our programs.

Find Drug Rehab in California at Solution Based Treatment & Detox

Contact SBT today at 833.999.1941 to learn more about our specialized drug and alcohol rehab programs in California.