Forcing someone into Addictions Treatment

It is a traumatic experience for any family to watch their loved one in an addictive cycle of self-destruction.

Trying to deal with somebody who is struggling with alcoholism or addiction can be very challenging. Most often they will deny there is a problem and refuse to even consider looking for help in an addiction treatment centre.

The role of the family is to intervene and help them start making healthy decisions.

An intervention might be the best way to help somebody to start making healthy decisions around getting help in an alcohol rehab. The family could sit down with the addict or alcoholic and let them know how worried you are.

There are several types of intervention that you could try to use, but the fundamental point to carry across is that the immense concern over the drinking or drugging has escalated to a point where it’s no longer possible to continue without some changes. Please seek out professional guidance before just walking in and saying this!

In cases where the individual is clearly a risk to themselves or society it is possible to obtain a court mandated admission to a drug or alcohol rehab. In these cases the alcoholic or addict will be forced into treatment.

Drug RehabThe old myth that treatment outcomes are generally more positive if somebody arrives at a drug or alcohol rehab ready and willing to engage in the treatment program, have been proven to be untrue.

People can arrive being very unwilling and after being exposed to group and individual therapy realise that they are not alone in their problem and that they can begin to do certain relatively easy things on a day to day basis to begin to take responsibility for their condition.

This means that a positive treatment outcome can be accomplished even if a person is forced into drug or alcohol rehab.

In South Africa addicts and alcoholics may be court ordered under the Prevention of and Treatment of Substance Abuse Act, 2008 (Act 70 of 2008). Foreign citizens may be court ordered into a drug or alcohol rehab.

In order to obtain such an order you should contact a private, external social worker who will compile a report and obtain medical backing to support the application for a court-ordered admission to a drug rehab. There are social workers who specialize in this work. Contact us for the one closest to you.

This will force somebody into treatment until the director of the drug and alcohol rehab centre recommends they be discharged. Every 12 months the director needs to inform the Department as to why the person has not yet been discharged.

Would you be willing to commit somebody to alcohol rehab if it would save his or her life?

In South Africa, the State makes provision under Prevention of and Treatment of Substance Abuse Act, 2008 (Act 70 of 2008) allowing for the committal of people who, due to substance abuse, do harm to themselves by wasting their money, disturbing the peace, harming themselves physically or neglecting themselves or their family.

In the State of Florida, USA, a similar commitment statute known as The Marchman Act exists. This is a law designed to help families through legal means by getting the courts to have loved ones addicted to alcohol or other drugs into a court ordered and supervised intervention, assessment and stabilisation, detoxification and long-term treatment if necessary, when they will not do it themselves.

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