What You Should Know About the Marchman Act

Addiction affects thousands of people in the United States. Many don’t seek help because they are in denial of the condition. Addiction can tear many families apart during this cycle of abuse. Those with an addicted loved one do not know where they can turn for help. There is a solution for those who need to get a family member the proper addiction treatment.

What is Florida’s Marchman Act?

Floridas Marchman Act allows the family and friends of a substance abuser to confidentially petition the court for help. If granted, the addicted loved one must face a court-ordered drug and alcohol assessment, possible hospitalization, and treatment programs. The courts consider substance abuse to involve alcohol, illegal drugs, and prescription drugs as well.

How does the Act work?

A petition must be filed with the courts to get court-ordered treatment in the state of Florida. There are many intricacies of the law. If you are thinking about filing a petition, it is recommended to consult an attorney. The petition is the first step under this law. The person will need to be assessed by an addictions specialist. This counselor will determine that the addicted person can no longer control of their substance use. There must be clear evidence that the respondent has lost self-control and refuses to seek substance abuse care. If the addiction professional agrees with those criteria, the next step is an involuntary treatment petition. The respondent can be ordered to seek treatment for 90 days.

The judge will consult with the addiction professional for a treatment plan. The Marchman Act does not always guarantee that the respondent will need residential treatment. The courts can order the person to seek outpatient treatment as well. If the respondent is in a county facility, it can take up to 10 days for an assessment. Some crisis admissions can speed up this process and the assessment can be waived. There are other cases where a hearing can be dismissed. The respondent is immediately entered into a treatment facility.

What are the requirements of the Marchman Act?

When the law was first drafted, it was required that only blood relatives could petition the courts. Now anyone with “first-hand” knowledge of the respondent’s condition can file a petition. This has made it easier to start the proceedings. If the respondent has no insurance, the person will be ordered to report to a county facility. The old law also would not allow court order treatment for anyone suffering from mental illness. The new Marchman Act does allow those with bipolar or personality disorders to be admitted into a court-ordered program. This can help many families who have a loved one with a mental illness and substance abuse problem. The respondent must have previously failed at treatment for a petition to be issued. If the person can pay for treatment, necessary treatment options must be made through the insurance company for services. Those who are unable to pay can find funding through local county-funded treatment facilities.

What happens after the 90 day period?

After the 90-day court order treatment period, a motion must be filed to extend the treatment for an additional 90 days. This decision is usually based on the assessments from the treatment facility professionals. If the respondent tries to leave the facility while under their care, law enforcement can be called. The person can be held in contempt of court and face more legal problems. Family and friends can file a motion to continue care with a ruling determined by a judge.

What are some problems with the Act?

The Marchman Act is a tedious process to start in the court system. There are many loopholes in the law. It is always recommended to seek out legal advice before proceeding. Some local community centers can help family and friends start in the right direction. There are even attorneys who can offer advice on a pro bono basis. The Marchman Act procedures do vary from county to county.

Family and friends can start the process by filling out Marchman Act forms on the website. This is the important first step to getting a loved one treatment for their substance abuse problem. Once the form has been completed, the petitioner can go before the courts and ask for a ruling. It is a difficult decision to make but one that saves a life.

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