Interested in starting your healing journey? Speak with an admissions counselor now
We're Hiring!
Apply for Jobs Now

Can I Send Someone to Rehab Against Their Will?

When a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, it can take a toll on everyone around them. Watching the harmful effects on their health, relationships, and overall well-being can be emotionally draining. In some cases, concerned family members or friends may wonder if they have the legal authority to force someone into rehab against their will. However, there are alternative approaches to supporting loved ones needing help.

What is Involuntary Treatment?

Involuntary treatment is defined as medical or psychiatric care provided without an individual’s consent. When referring to substance abuse or addiction, involuntary treatment may involve compelling someone to enter a rehab program against their wishes.

Involuntary treatment laws often focus solely on situations that involve increased risk of harm to oneself or others. These laws typically require clear evidence that an individual’s substance abuse poses an immediate danger, such as severe impairment, suicidal ideation, or inability to care for oneself or those depending on them.

State Laws

Involuntary commitment laws for substance abuse treatment vary from state to state, with 37 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) having involuntary commitment laws in place. The states that have involuntary commitment laws include:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania

Involuntary Commitment in Florida

The Baker Act

The Baker Act is a Florida law that allows for the involuntary commitment to a psychiatric facility for the evaluation and treatment of individuals experiencing a mental health crisis.

To involuntarily commit someone in Florida under the Baker Act, the petitioner must first demonstrate that the individual:

  1. Has a diagnosed mental illness.
  2. Poses a danger to themselves or others.
  3. Is unable to determine their need for treatment due to their mental illness.

While the Baker Act was created for those in need of mental health treatment, there are few instances where it may be enacted for those living with substance use disorders (SUDs). Because substance abuse and mental health disorders often intersect, the Baker Act may be invoked for individuals whose substance abuse has led to a mental health crisis.

Additionally, those who are involuntarily committed under the Baker Act may receive a referral for substance abuse treatment following their evaluation and stabilization in a psychiatric facility.

The Marchman Act

The Marchman Act is part of a Florida statute designed to assist individuals struggling with substance abuse disorders. This act allows families and concerned parties to compel someone to attend rehab when their drug or alcohol addiction poses a significant threat to their health or safety.

The Marchman Act plays a crucial role in addressing addiction in Florida by assessing individuals and potentially mandating them to undergo substance abuse evaluation and treatment against their will.

To compel someone to undergo rehab in Florida under the Marchman Act, the petitioner must first demonstrate that the individual:

  • Has lost control over their substance use.
  • Poses a harmful threat to themselves or others.
  • Lacks the capacity to appreciate the need for treatment.

Once it’s determined that your loved one meets the criteria for intervention under the Marchman Act, one can file a petition for a court order. To initiate this process, the petitioner must be a spouse, guardian, relative, or any other three adults who have direct knowledge of the person’s substance abuse.

Alternative Approaches

While forcing your loved one into treatment may seem like the best solution, it’s not always a long-term solution. Rehab works best when the individual has a strong desire to get sober. And many individuals who were involuntarily committed might still refuse treatment or have setbacks after they leave. So, reviewing all your options is essential to help your loved one achieve long-lasting recovery.

Open Communication

Learning how to communicate openly and honestly is one of the first things taught in rehab. So, expressing genuine concern, empathy, and support for your loved one’s well-being can help create a safe space to discuss their struggles with addiction without judgment. If they feel seen and heard, they may want to seek help on their own.


A professionally facilitated intervention can bring together concerned family members, friends, and a trained interventionist to confront the individual about their substance abuse and encourage them to seek treatment voluntarily. Interventions can provide a neutral third party to help motivate the individual to take steps toward recovery.

Set Boundaries

Establishing clear boundaries and consequences for destructive behavior associated with substance abuse is essential when addressing your loved one’s substance abuse and addiction. Be consistent in maintaining healthy boundaries and sending a clear message about what behaviors are acceptable and what are not.

Recovery Starts at Mandala Healing Center

When it comes to the difficult decision of whether to force someone to go to rehab, remember that your loved one’s health and wellness are the first priority. While involuntary commitment may be necessary in some cases, it’s important to go over all of your options and help your loved one get better.

At Mandala Healing Center, our addiction treatment center and custom treatment programs are designed to help individuals achieve long-lasting recovery. Our dedicated team is here to offer guidance and support to individuals and their families. Don’t wait any longer to take action, reach out and get help today.