Can you Force Someone into Rehab?

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Can you Force Someone into Rehab?

If you have a loved one who’s addicted to drugs or alcohol, you’d likely do anything to get them the addiction treatment they need. For some who struggle with substance abuse, talking to them about their behavior and voicing your concerns is enough to get them to seek treatment. But for others, confronting them about their drug use can have the opposite effect. So how do you help someone who doesn’t want it? Can you force someone into rehab?

Can You Force Someone to Go to Rehab?

Less than 20% of the 21.6 million people aged 2 and older in 2019 who needed substance abuse treatment actually received it, and only 12.2% received drug or alcohol treatment.1 This statistic displays the horrible gap between people struggling with addiction and the people who actually get help for it. For families contending with addiction, treatment may be the last life-saving option they have.

But what happens when a loved one with a severe drug addiction refuses help? Can you make someone go to rehab? The answer is yes.

You can be forced to go to rehab in some states, but this depends greatly on your age. For instance, many states allow parents to force their minor children – under the age of 18 – to involuntary admit to rehab without the child’s consent. However, things change for adults aged 18 and older.

What Is the Marchman Act?

As a drug and alcohol treatment center in Palm Beach, we’re well aware of committing a person to rehab in Florida. The Marchman Act, also known as the Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act, is a law that was passed in 1993 in the State of Florida as a way to help people safely and healthily cope with their addictions when they may not be in the best state of mind to make decisions for themselves.

While the Marchman Act encourages people to receive addiction treatment voluntarily, the main goal of this act is to offer a way for people with substance use disorders to undergo involuntary admission to rehab for evaluation, stabilization, and treatment under safe conditions.2

How to Commit Someone to Rehab (in Florida)

You can force someone into rehab in Florida under the Marchman Act. However, this does have its limitations. For instance, a law enforcement officer may choose to use the Marchman Act if a person is under the influence of substances in a public place and their behavior is posing a risk to themselves or others. Typically, the individual’s guardian, spouse, or relative can petition the court to have the individual admitted to rehab against their will for addiction if the person is likely to harm themselves or if they can’t understand how harmful their drug use is to them.

Use of the Marchman Act is permitted when three adults who know of a person’s addiction petition a judge for an involuntary commitment to rehab. However, even if the individual uses drugs or alcohol excessively and refuses to go to treatment, it’s not enough to use the Marchman Act. In order to commit someone to rehab in Florida, the judge has to be convinced that the person is unable to make rational decisions about their addiction and their need for treatment, and they pose a risk to themselves or others.2,3

Help for Addiction

Getting someone admitted to rehab against their will can be difficult. Although you can see why this decision is best for them, they may see it as a betrayal. However, if the individual’s substance abuse has reached the point where they’re causing immediate harm to themselves or others, then it’s time to get them help.

If you’re searching for rehabilitation options in Florida, Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches can help. We offer addiction treatment in Lake Worth for both illicit and prescription drugs that are led by a team of professionals and recovery sponsors. Each of our treatment programs provides various levels of care, including treatment for withdrawals and psychotherapy.

Starting with medically monitored detox and continuing clients’ care with aftercare support, BHOPB offers a variety of resources for the addict and their loved ones to help them heal from the impact of addiction.


To learn more about our addiction treatment programs in Palm Beach, contact us today at 561-220-3981.



  1. SAMHSA – Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health
  2. CGA – Florida Law On Substance Abuse Treatment
  3. Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller – A Petitioner’s Responsibilities Under The Hal Marchman Act


Related Reading:

Coping with Boredom in Addiction Recovery
Problem Solving in Addiction Recovery

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