Florida Marchman Act Requirements: How It Works

Do you know someone who cannot seem to find their way out of addiction to alcohol or drugs? Maybe they don’t even understand how sick they have become. If so, a law exists that can help you force someone into treatment for their substance use disorder. There are Marchman Act Florida requirements that must be followed in order to take advantage of this law. We explain these so you can make a decision about how best to help the person you love. 

What Is the Marchman Act?

The Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act was passed in 1993. Commonly known as the Marchman Act, it was created to help people too lost in their addictions to seek help on their own. It allows for emergency cases of intervention for those with substance use disorders who need treatment. The Marchman Act allows family members and select others to petition a court to force the evaluation of a loved one. If it’s determined the person needs treatment, they can be forced into it against their will. 

While the person may indicate they do not need treatment, the court will make the decision for them. Sadly, many people lost in addiction to drugs or alcohol live in such dire straits that they honestly don’t realize how bad off they are. The Marchman Act Florida requirements allow for certain family members to usurp the denial the person with the addiction sustains. It considers if the person proves unable to make a decision for themselves to get help. Additionally, it takes into consideration if the individual has harmed themselves or others or threatened to do so. This act pertains to adults aged 18 and over. 

The assessment should be completed within five days of the filing being approved. Facilities will work with those involved regarding insurance and other forms of payment, including sliding scale fees. If a person is forced into treatment via the Marchman Act, they may stay for up to 60 days.

Marchman Act Criteria

A person who meets the Marchman Act Florida requirements must meet certain criteria. They must be shown to have lost the ability to recognize that their substance use disorder is out of control. In some cases, even if they realize something is wrong, they may be incapable of finding and entering treatment unassisted. 

Additionally, the person who has the addiction may meet the requirements of the Marchman Act if it can be shown that they prove a danger to themselves. This can include threats of or attempts at overdosing or committing suicide. As well, if they have threatened to or attempted to cause harm to others, this will be considered in the judge’s decision. 

Families may want to consider hiring an attorney to help them navigate the court system. A lawyer can help them file the initial paperwork, and continue to support them as their loved ones make their way through the legal system and treatment. 

How to Meet the Marchman Act Florida Requirements

Certain steps must be taken in order to meet the Marchman Act Florida requirements. First, a spouse, relative, guardian, or three unrelated individuals must file a petition. A petition can also be filed by someone such as a doctor, therapist, or law enforcement officer. They must attest to having witnessed that the person’s addiction to drugs or alcohol has spiraled out of control. 

All petition paperwork should be filed in a court in the county in which the person with the addiction lives. The petition will then be notarized and presented to a judge or magistrate, who will make a decision. If they agree a problem has been proven, one of two things can happen. First, the individual who is the focus of the filing can be served with a summons to attend a hearing in court. Both parties can have legal counsel representing them.

If time is of the essence, an emergency order can be issued. Then, law enforcement will be authorized to pick up the person and deliver them to a chosen facility to be evaluated. 

Treatment Options for Addiction to Alcohol and Drugs

A variety of treatment options exist for the treatment of addiction to alcohol and drugs. The first step involves going to detox. From there, some people transition into residential treatment. They live in a facility 24/7 for weeks or months at a time.

For others, outpatient rehab in Tampa fits the bill. This type of treatment allows the person to attend treatment sessions during the day while still enjoying living at home. Alternatively, they may find it best to reside in a sober living home. Non-residential care includes regular outpatient programs, intensive outpatient programs, and partial hospitalization programs. Each one provides vital types of therapy that prove helpful in treating addiction. 

Someone who meets the Marchman Act Florida requirements can make great progress in any of these types of plans. While they may be hesitant to get help at first, once they finish detox, they can think more clearly. From there, many people realize how out of control their lives had become. Then, they embrace the newness of being sober and the different levels of help available to them.

Help Understanding the Marchman Act Florida Requirements

Are you worried about someone with an addiction to alcohol or drugs? When someone you love seems lost in the world of addiction, it can be difficult to know what to do. There are laws in place that allow loved ones to try to push a person into treatment they desperately need. Contact Tampa Bay Recovery Center in Florida now and we will be happy to help explain the Marchman Act Florida requirements. From there, we can discuss how our programs can help the person you care about put their addiction behind them. Do not give up hope; help is just around the corner.