The Marchman Act: What is it and how can it help you?

Often times, loved ones of an addict do not know where to turn when the addict refuses to see there is a problem with their drug use. This can be a trying time for loved ones because it truly feels like the end of the road with nowhere else to turn.

Until recently, there has not been a viable solution to have addicts involuntarily admitted into treatment programs. The only places that could keep the addict against their will were jails and psychiatric wards. Now states are beginning to see that these individuals need actual treatment for their addictions, so laws are being passed that allow loved ones to admit addicts involuntarily into treatment programs. Florida is one of the first states to pass the Marchman Act to help addicts get the treatment they truly need. Other states have similar laws and many are moving towards these laws as well.


What is the Marchman Act?

Marchman Act is defined as:

                “A means of providing an individual in need of substance abuse services with emergency services and temporary detention for substance abuse evaluation and treatment when required, either on a voluntary or involuntary basis.”

What does this mean for the addict?

Many individuals dealing with a loved one addicted to drugs or alcohol often have a difficult time getting the addict to admit there is a problem with their drug use, so with the Marchman Act loved ones will be able to have the individual admitted into treatment without their willingness to do so.

This means that addicts will be forced into treatment programs to get the help they need. While many may not be going into treatment willingly, the addicts will have no other choice, but to face their demons and fight through recovery.

Will involuntary admissions to drug treatment work?

The way the law is set up in Florida forces the addict to stay in treatment until released via court order or doctor’s approval. This means that the individual has to show progress in their treatment or they will remain in treatment until they decide to participate.

Usually when individuals are admitted into treatment, the withdrawals will make the person want to go use drugs to feel better. Once the withdrawals have been overcome though, the individual begins to feel better and get back to “themselves,” so completing a treatment program begins to make sense to them. Often times, the longer one is in treatment, the more they realize how treatment can help them better their lives.

Addicts begin to regain many aspects of life, such as family and self-confidence, which allows them to truly see what their addiction has done to their lives. These realizations allow the addict in treatment to see the benefits of being involuntarily admitted into a treatment program, so yes involuntary admission into a treatment program can work for many.

Will other states follow Florida’s lead with the Marchman Act?

While some states have similar laws in place already, there are still many that do not offer a way to involuntarily admit addicts into treatment. The media that Florida has gotten for passing this law has led to many states stepping forward and attempting to move in the same direction. This could be a beneficial movement for many states to make because it allows addicts to be in a treatment setting instead of behind bars not truly addressing their addiction.

How will the Marchman Act affect law enforcement?

Usually addicts end up in jail for committing petty crimes or in psych wards for being too intoxicated, which is not where they truly need to be in order to overcome addiction. The Marchman Act allows law enforcement to put addicts into treatment instead of behind bars, which keeps jails used for hardened criminals and treatment facilities for addicts. The law is finally seeing that jail doesn’t fix people’s drug addiction and that treatment is what is needed.

Ultimately the Marchman Act is a step in the right direction for families dealing with a loved one addicted to drugs and law enforcement. It allows them to force the addict to see that treatment for their addiction is what is truly needed. Many states will hopefully follow in Florida’s footsteps to get more addicts the treatment that is truly needed to overcome addiction to drugs and alcohol.

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