Watching a loved one suffer through the torture of addiction really puts people in a frantic and upsetting state of mind. This is especially true if your loved one refuses to see the danger of their addiction or won’t go into a rehab center. Seeing someone you love literally slowly killing themselves will stretch your heart and patience to their breaking points, however, it is possible to get a court to order your loved one into treatment, even if they themselves don’t want to go.
The Process Of Court-Ordered Treatment
Getting your loved one into court-ordered treatment is a difficult process. The quickest way to do it is to pursue them legally and suggest court-ordered treatment as an appropriate punishment. This method is troubling because it requires that you turn your loved one in for using and handling drugs and will likely make them feel betrayed by you. Make sure that you get all legal authorities involved to agree to court-ordered treatment before pursuing it legally in order to ensure that it happens.
If you aren’t willing to go that route, it is always possible to get your loved one committed involuntarily to a rehab center via an emergency order through the courts. This will require a screening investigation that includes mental health and addiction professionals as well a police officer. Your loved one will be taken into custody and evaluated to see if they qualify for emergency involuntary treatment.
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Qualifications for this usually include a lack of control in their actions, using drugs on a daily basis, physical and mental health problems caused by addiction, and other situations in which they are threatening the safety and health of themselves and others. Each state will have different qualifications, so make sure to speak with legal authorities in your town before attempting this method.
Generally, you’re going to fill out a form indicating why you think your loved one needs treatment, submit it to a judge, go through a hearing based on the form, and plead your case. Only proper legal authority, including judges and psychiatrists, can make this decision. In this circumstance, your loved one will plead their case once they are taken into custody and may try to talk their way out of it. Thankfully, the authorities going through this process have performed it many times and will be hard to manipulate.
Effectiveness Of Court-Ordered Treatment
One major concern that likely plagues you when considering court-ordered treatment is whether it will be effective for your loved one. After all, if they are being forced into treatment or are struggling against it, it may seem that the success rate would be rather low. The truth is, the effectiveness of court-ordered treatment hinges entirely on the motivation of the person involved in the treatment, rather than any outside motivators, such as law enforcement officials or promises from you and family members.
For example, a study by the National Criminal Justice Reference Service entitled “The Effectiveness of Coerced Treatment for Drug-Abusing Offenders” stated that while coercive methods of treatment, such as court-ordered treatment, were often effective ways to motivate a person to change, it is the person in treatment who “decides upon the outcome.” Essentially, if a person doesn’t want to change or feels no need to change, they aren’t likely to have much success.
That said, court-ordered treatment is often effective as a way of shocking a loved one into understanding the problems their addiction has caused. It works a bit like an intervention in that they are presented with an ultimatum: change or face serious consequences. In the case of court-ordered treatment, these consequences are legal in nature, such as facing prosecution for drug-related crimes.
Faced with a tough situation like this, most people will choose to approach their treatment with increased seriousness. It may not completely ensure that they will commit to success, but all measures of addiction treatment have the potential for failure. Only committed and serious efforts from the person in recovery can ensure that they succeed. Court-ordered treatment, at the very least, forces them into a situation in which they have to consider quitting. That is often a vital first step.
Considerations For Court-Ordered Treatment Rehab Centers
Success in court-ordered treatment is all about getting the person to accept the necessity of their treatment and to honestly approach their recovery. There are several different ways that a rehab center can ensure that their treatments are more effective in these scenarios.
Make sure that your loved one’s treatment follows these guidelines to ensure that it is successful:
- Treatment length of three to nine months: In cases of court-ordered treatment, a person often needs a few months to accept the reality of their disorder. They may also need a longer detox and treatment period. Several months should also be devoted to aftercare, including outpatient visits, to ensure they are working towards permanent sobriety.
- High level of structure: Rehab treatments vary in intensity and structure, but the unique nature of court-ordered treatment indicates that a structured method is more appropriate. It should definitely include a residential stay, urine monitoring, psychiatric services, and vocational training, as necessary.
- Reasonable level of flexibility: Having a strict structure doesn’t mean that the program has to be fixed to one treatment methodology. If one method isn’t getting through to the person, others should be tried out and integrated into the recovery schedule. This helps the person fine-tune their treatment and makes it more successful. It also gives them a feeling of control in a situation in which they may have little.
- Regular evaluation: Even when a person voluntarily checks themselves into a rehab center, their progress should be monitored. However, with court-ordered rehab, progress needs to be checked on a nearly daily basis. This helps gauge where they are at in the program and can make it possible to adjust the approach, if necessary.
Basically, you are trying to make your loved one’s stay during court-ordered treatment as comfortable as possible. They are likely feeling some resentment towards you and the situation and need to feel like the best intentions are being kept in mind. If they feel punished or attacked, they will struggle against recovery. Give them a measure of control over the situation and adjust treatment to their needs, and they are more likely to succeed.
The Consequences Of Not Completing The Program
If your loved one was put into a court-ordered treatment program due to drug-related crime (including charges you may have made against them), they must finish their treatment as part of their punishment for breaking the law. Court-ordered drug programs replace fines or jail time and are designed to give a person a free chance to clean up their life and once again enter society as a sober and law-abiding citizen.
However, if they fail to finish their program, they are in serious trouble. The type of trouble depends on the model used by the drug court. In deferred prosecution programs, your loved one won’t have to plead guilty to the charge against them and, if they finish the program, they will suffer under no further charges. This model is typically used in cases where a person has few, if any, prior legal problems, especially if they have never committed any violent crimes. The offense will not show up on their records.
In post-adjudication programs, your loved one must plead guilty to the crime, and they will be given a sentence and a fine. However, these will be waived if your loved one completes the program. Sometimes, the crime itself will even be removed from their record. This method is more common with people who have prior arrest records. Typically, it is a way to make a person understand what their consequences will be should they fail to complete their treatment.
What happens if they do fail to complete their treatment? It’s not pretty. In deferred prosecution programs, they will be prosecuted for their crime to the full extent of the law. They may plead guilty in this circumstance, but they will face the jail sentence and fine that comes with the plea. Judges who know someone has failed a treatment program may be harsher in sentencing, though that isn’t typically a requirement when judging.
In a post-adjudication model, they will be taken back in front of the judge to face sentencing based on their earlier guilty plea. They will likely face a minimum of the previously mentioned sentence, though this may be adjusted by the judge based on their failure to complete the program. If they wish, they can change their plea to “not guilty,” but given the circumstances (failure to complete a drug rehab program after leaving it or continuing to use drugs), their case is not likely to be very successful.
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Court-ordered drug treatment is a difficult process for everyone involved and will tax your relationship with your loved one. However, it may be the last possible step in helping them beat their addiction and gain a life that is happy and free from any crippling substance abuse. It can often mean the difference between life and death in many cases, as court-ordered treatment can be a desperate step.
If you are interested in learning more about this topic or need help finding a rehab center for your loved one, please contact us at Vertava Health. Our experts have been through this process before and know the pain you feel. They will work hard to help you and your loved one recover from addiction in a safe and healing environment. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.