Can You Involuntarily Commit a Loved One to Rehab in NJ?

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The difficulty of admitting a problem and seeking rehab treatment increases as the addiction progresses. Considering involuntary commitment may be possible if someone is likely to harm themselves or others while abusing substances and because they refuse to get the help they need.

How Does Involuntary Commitment Work?

Involuntary commitment is the process of sending a substance-addicted individual to a drug rehab facility when they do not volunteer for the treatment themselves. It is essentially a legal order to force them into rehab against their will. Considering this option is only recommended if the individual in question won’t seek drug rehab on their own.

The concept of involuntary commitment was initially meant to be used exclusively for individuals with symptoms of severe mental disorders. However, it is now applicable in some states for addiction if the case and circumstances are serious. New Jersey is considering laws such as the Marchman Act and the Baker Act but currently has no such law.

It is a long and complicated process to have someone committed to a drug rehab facility involuntarily. Most treatment centers will prefer intervention over involuntary commitment if asked.

What is The Marchman and Baker Act?

The Marchman and Baker Acts are involuntary commitment laws currently upheld in Florida. The baker Act is reserved for people with severe mental illness who may harm themselves or others and do not know they need mental health treatment. The Marchman Act is similar to the Baker Act but can be applied to persons with a severe substance use disorder.

Each law requires extensive legal processes but can be as simple as three or more people signing documents to have a person committed to a mental institution or an inpatient or outpatient drug rehab program. New Jersey will not be the first state to consider the laws from Florida to help fight the devastating tolls of addiction.

Which States Allow Involuntary Commitment For Addiction Treatment?

There are currently 37 states that have some form of involuntary commitment, but most are reserved for mental illness and not for substance use disorders. New Jersey does not allow involuntary commitment for substance abuse.

Some states will consider drug and alcohol use as a version of self-harm or harm to others, and they include:

Alaska, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

What Is The Difference Between Voluntary and Involuntary Treatment?

Voluntary treatment means the individual has agreed to be admitted into rehab. When someone decides they need help, they voluntarily enter a substance use disorder program and no longer deny that they have a problem. Involuntary treatment, usually via an addiction intervention or the legal system means the individual is against going to therapy either became they do not want help or do not think they need treatment.

Another situation of involuntary treatment is when the addict or alcoholic is incapable of understanding how severe and dangerous their drug or alcohol use is and unintentionally hurts themselves with substances.

Why Do Addicts Not Know they Need Help?

Addiction is a mental health condition that only gets worse with time, as will the denial that it is a problem. Addicts never use less they will always use more. The reasons for this include tolerance; their drug use progresses, and their minds become more addicted. The National Institute on Drug Abuse lists the common characteristics of all drug and alcohol addicts.

Drug abusers feel that the drug is a part of their daily life. Drug dependence is a disease that gradually increases. This disease is not cured but can only be controlled. Addiction is a process of use, misuse, and abuse. (NIDA)

What Are the Options for Someone Not Willing To Go To Rehab?

We recommend a formal intervention for anyone unwilling to go to treatment on their own. The emotional toll a person goes through when they are forced or threatened into rehab and not provided a professional intervention is complex and often makes the addict worse.

Our program begins with medically supervised detox, which can persuade the individual to go because they will be medicated. We then offer inpatient, evidence-based therapy and personalized counseling. Call to be helped right now.

Medically Reviewed: October 26, 2022

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

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