Can You Force Someone to go to Rehab in California? - ARISE

Watching someone you love struggle with a substance use disorder is never easy. Constantly worrying about their safety and health can take a toll on you. It is especially hard when your loved one continually refuses to attend a drug or alcohol rehab program.

Unfortunately, many people struggle to watch their loved ones avoid receiving help. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration, out of 21.6 million Americans who required substance abuse treatment, less than 20% of them went to rehab.[1]

If your loved one is refusing to attend treatment, you might have begun wondering whether you can force them to go to rehab. If you live in California, there are laws in place that can help you provide your loved ones with the shot at addiction recovery that they deserve. For more information on how you can get your loved one the proper help and treatment they deserve call today at (844) 924-2114. 

Forcing Your Loved One to Attend Addiction Treatment

Because addiction is recognized as a mental health condition, many states in America have adopted laws that allow the loved ones of addicted individuals to force them to go to rehab. They understand that the mental effects of addiction cause these individuals to live in denial of their problem with drugs and how it makes them feel like recovery is impossible.

The laws that allow you to “force” someone to attend addiction treatment are referred to as involuntary commitment laws. The states that allow involuntary commitment include:

  • California
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • Montana
  • Washington
  • Colorado
  • South Dakota
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • Kansas
  • Nebraska
  • Arkansas
  • Louisiana
  • Delaware
  • Missouri
  • Minnesota
  • Iowa
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Tennessee
  • Ohio
  • West Virginia
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Florida
  • District of Columbia
  • Connecticut
  • Vermont
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Rhode Island

Depending on the state you live in, the laws and regulations associated with involuntary commitment will differ. If you live in California, you can force your loved one to go to rehab. However, it is important to note that there are steps you must follow along with the criteria that your loved one must meet.

How Does Involuntary Commitment Work?

While each state has its own process with a specific set of rules and guidelines for involuntary commitment, most states follow the same general rules. These rules are in place to ensure that the involuntary commitment laws are not abused. The criteria are provided to protect individuals from being forced into rehab when they do not need addiction treatment, preventing them from being abused.

To involuntarily commit your loved one to an addiction treatment program, they must meet the following criteria:[2]

  • Your loved one poses a threat to themselves or others
  • Substance abuse has rendered them physically or mentally disabled
  • Your loved one is incapacitated, or unable to make their own decisions
  • Your loved one cannot fulfill their basic needs or tend to their personal affairs
  • They are experiencing a total loss of control due to their addiction

While forcing your loved one to attend addiction treatment can be distressing for them and yourself, many people believe it is necessary in some cases. Because of the increasingly concerning opioid epidemic and the likelihood of drugs containing a lethal dose of fentanyl, involuntary commitment could save your loved one’s life. According to a study that surveyed addiction treatment experts, 60.7% of physicians favored involuntary commitment as a necessary means to an end.[3]

California’s Inpatient Commitment Law

If you are wondering whether you can force someone to go to rehab in California, the short answer is yes. However, it is important to consider the steps you must take to successfully involuntarily commit your loved one to inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment.

The National Center for State Courts describes California’s involuntary commitment law, “Involuntary Commitment: Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code Ann. § 5201 allows anyone to file a petition requesting that an evaluation of a person’s condition be made because that a person is “a danger to others, or to him [or her]self, or is gravely disabled.”[2]

Under California’s involuntary commitment law, there are criteria your loved one must meet to qualify. To force your loved one to go to inpatient rehab, the following criteria must be met:[4]

  • Be analyzed by the treatment center and find that they are a danger to others and/or disabled because of their substance use disorder
  • The treatment center must agree to treat your loved one immediately
  • Your loved one must have been notified of their need for treatment and been unable to be willing or refuse due to the effects of their addiction

There is also an option that allows you to force your loved one to attend outpatient treatment. The criteria they must meet include:[4]

  • Your loved one is 18 or older
  • Your loved one suffers from mental illness (including substance use disorder)
  • A professional has determined that your loved one is not able to survive safely without supervision and treatment
  • Their condition has been deteriorating over time
  • They need and will benefit from outpatient treatment
  • Your loved one has a history of a lack of compliance regarding treatment
  • Their condition has caused them to require hospitalization within the last 36 months or  has caused them to behave harmfully to themselves or others within the last 48 months

If you choose to go this route, you must follow all of the guidelines and comply with the criteria throughout the entire process. Oftentimes, involuntarily committing someone into a treatment facility will help them realize the severity of their condition and motivate them to make a positive change.

Finding Help for an Addicted Loved One in California

If your loved one suffers from addiction, finding a treatment program in California that suits their needs is of the utmost importance. Arise Treatment Center understands that everyone has unique needs and because of that, we have created individualized treatment planning for each patient who walks through our doors.

Instead of using a one-size-fits-all approach, we allow our patients to have a voice in the type of treatments and therapies they undergo. This allows them the ability to reach all of their goals and have every need met during their addiction recovery journey. Contact Arise Treatment Center today at (844) 924-2114 for more information on how to get your loved one into our addiction treatment program, where they can begin the journey towards a new life, free from the shackles of substance use disorders.




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