Can You Force Someone Into Rehab?

Contact Us

In a majority of cases people will do anything in order to get a loved one, who struggles with substance abuse, into an addiction treatment center so they can get the help that they need. For some addicts it is enough to simply talk to them about your concerns with their behaviors. For others, a conversation about the situation and the devastating consequences of it isn’t enough to get them to agree to treatment.

Addiction is not an uncommon experience. In 2019 in the United States 21.6 million people 12 and over needed treatment, but less than 20% of them actually received help. As the rates of drug overdoses soar higher and higher every year, so do families’ desperation to get their loved ones help. So how do you convince your loved one to get help? And if needed how do you go about forcing someone into rehab?

Is Forcing Someone Into Rehab Possible?

Most states allow parents or guardians to force their minor children into rehab without the child’s consent. However, these rules change when an individual is over the age of 18. Due to the difficulty of forcing someone into rehab who is an adult many states have enacted involuntary commitment laws. 

Is forcing someone into rehab possible? In the majority of cases the answer is yes. There are a number of different ways to go about forcing someone into rehab. The first way some can be forced into rehab is through the drug courts system. Drug court is a program for nonviolent offenders with a substance abuse disorder. It diverts them from prison and instead admits them into treatment programs. It is estimated that in 2015 thirty percent of individuals over the age of 12 received treatment through the criminal justice system. In order to be eligible for drug court an individual must be charged with a crime, plead guilty, and agree to be a part of the program.

The other option for forcing someone into rehab is to utilize involuntary commitment laws. There are thirty seven states that have laws that allow families to involuntarily commit their loved one into a  substance abuse program. Every statute is different per jurisdiction and specifies certain criteria that an individual must meet in order for the law to be enacted.

What States Have Involuntary Commitment Laws?

The number of states that have laws allowing families to force someone into drug treatment is steadily increasing due to the opiate crisis that is sweeping across the country. According to the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws there are 37 states that have laws allowing for involuntary commitment. These states include:

  • Colorado
  • Washington
  • California
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • Texas
  • Oklahoma
  • Kansas
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Minnesota
  • Iowa
  • Wisconsin
  • Arkansas
  • Louisiana
  • Missouri
  • Tennessee
  • Kentucky
  • Indiana
  • Michigan
  • Ohio
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Georgia
  • Florida
  • Delaware
  • Pennsylvania
  • Connecticut
  • Massachusetts
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Rhode Island (Alcoholism Only)
  • Vermont (Substance Abuse Only)
  • Montana (Substance Abuse Only)

As mentioned above every law is state specific. There are particular criteria and standards that vary depending on which state the addict or alcoholic resides in. 

Does Treatment Work If You Are Forcing Someone Into Rehab?

It would be reasonable to wonder if rehab would even work if the addicted individual does not want to get help. Unfortunately there has been a lack of research in these types of situations. What has been proven, is that many people attend rehab for reasons other than them actually wanting to lead a life in recovery. There are a multitude of patients who are forced into rehab either through their family, the court system, financial pressure, homelessness, or other situations which pressures the person into a facility. The National Institute On Drug Abuse published a research piece that concluded that people who are coerced into treatment normally stay in treatment longer and do just as well as their peers who were not forced to be in a drug rehab. 

Can You Convince Someone Instead Of Forcing Someone Into Rehab?

It is possible to convince someone to go to rehab, although it may not always work. There is a proven gap between the need for treatment and how much treatment is actually utilized when it comes to substance abuse. The preferred scenario is that loved ones and family are able to convince an addict to go to rehab, instead of forcing someone into rehab. 

If you are unable to convince an addict on your own, then it may be beneficial to involve a professional interventionist. An interventionist is trained in how to communicate with someone who is in active addiction. When an interventionist is involved the results are often positive, but there is no guarantee. Another option is to contact a drug rehab program admissions department. If you are able to get the addicted individual to speak with an admissions representative, then they may be able to convince them to enter into a program. Although you can try to convince someone to go to treatment in a multitude of ways it just may not work. When you feel that your loved one’s safety, health, future, and life is at risk then it might be time to take more drastic measures.


Addiction Treatment In Cherry Hill, New Jersey

The Healing Center offers an addiction treatment center in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Whether you are forcing someone into rehab or they are coming to our program willingly we are here to help. Every single one of our clients receives the same high quality of care, loving support, and individualized approach in our program. Our goal is to set the foundation for long term recovery for every single person who walks through our doors. If your loved one is suffering from addiction, then call our admissions department today. We will talk to your loved one directly, refer an interventionist, and if necessary we will educate you about the laws in New Jersey which may help your loved one get the help they need. Call us today, we are here to help!