Should We Be Able to Force Rehab?

Drug addiction is a disease of both mind and body. It can drive you to do things you never thought imaginable. Some of the common behaviors associated with drug and alcohol addiction include dropping out of school, cheating, neglecting loved ones and stealing, among others.

In recent years, laws have been passed to force rehab on drug and alcohol addicts. There’s still some debate on this topic, with strong opinions for and against forced rehab. Let’s review these opinions so you can determine where you fall in this debate.

What the Law Says

According to Florida’s Marchman Act, a spouse or relative can legally petition the court to force a loved one into rehab. In the absence of a spouse or relative, three people who have direct contact with the addict and understand the addict’s condition can petition the court for the same. Kentucky, Ohio and a few other states have similar legislation allowing for forced rehab.

If you think your loved one is in need of rehab, be sure to research your own state’s laws just to be aware of the options you have. Determine if voluntary or involuntary rehab is best for your situation and move forward with informed, compassionate action.

Special Considerations for Your Loved One

If your state allows for forced rehab, keep in mind that the process is not as simple as dropping your loved one loved one at the doors of a rehab facility. You may find it difficult convincing a loved one or a friend that they need specialized treatment for addiction. The main question you should consider is this: Does involuntary treatment help an addict who’s not ready, or does it cause more harm? Only you can answer that for your particular situation.

The Forced Rehab Debate

You may feel that drug and alcohol rehab will only be successful if the addict is willing to go, while others may feel that attending rehab regardless of the addict’s willingness is the only way. The ultimate answer comes down to what’s right for the circumstances, but there’s research supporting both sides of this debate.

According to a paper published by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service, some researchers claim that forced treatment can be successful as it helps the addict realize they need professional assistance. The research purports that most addicts who resist treatment initially begin to accept their need for rehab as they learn more about the dangers of their addiction. On the other hand, further studies cited in this paper have shown that people who are coerced into treatment do no better or worse than those who attend rehab voluntarily.

The Case for Rehab, Whether Forced or Voluntary

If you’re struggling with addiction, you have to first admit there’s a problem before recovery can be achieved. You may be combative and in denial if presented with forced rehab. On the other hand, you may be willing to enter rehab with the compassionate help of loved ones. What matters most is that you get the help you need to enjoy a life of sobriety and avoid relapse after treatment.

You may seek drugs and alcohol for pleasure or because you find comfort and safety in these substances. Whatever your motivation and whether you’re forced into rehab or you go willingly, you deserve to be supported in your recovery, treated warmly and reassured throughout the process.

Call 12 Keys for Help

Each case of substance abuse is unique. If you’ve already exhausted all your options and you feel involuntary rehab is the way to go, then be sure you understand what lies ahead. It may not be easy forcing your loved one into rehab if they don’t think they need to be there. On the other hand, they may come to a place of acceptance once treatment begins.
Regardless of where you fall in the debate on forced rehab, it’s vital to remember that compassion and empathy are essential tools at every stage of recovery. Contact 12 Keys today. Our holistic approach to rehab involves mind, body and spirit in the recovery process to ensure our clients become the best versions of themselves.

The Addiction Blog