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Several States Have Laws Allowing Involuntary Addiction Treatment


A Kentucky law allows parents to petition the court to order involuntary drug treatment for their adult children, USA Today reports. Other concerned people may also file a petition under Casey’s Law.

Ohio has a similar law, which was enacted last year, the newspaper notes.

Kentucky’s law, which was enacted in 2004, is named for Casey Wethington, who died of a heroin overdose at the age of 23. His mother initiated the law, which is modeled after a similar measure in Florida.

Casey’s Law requires a petition showing the person is a danger to themselves or others, a court examination, and a medical evaluation by two health professionals, including a doctor.

The treatment options available under the law can range from detoxification to intensive treatment through recovery. The person seeking the involuntary treatment must pay all costs incurred in the process, as well as all cost of treatment.

5 Responses to this article

  1. Avatar of Charlotte Wethington
    Charlotte Wethington / June 3, 2013 at 1:36 pm

    When reporting is done on Casey’s Law, the reader is often left with, “The person seeking the involuntary treatment must pay all costs incurred in the process, as well as all cost of treatment”. It is not surprising that it is this statement that often deters people from taking any further action. While it is a fact that the petitioner “must pay all costs incurred in the process, as well as all cost of treatment”, it is also a fact that the petitioner has the right and the responsibility to choose that facility. Therefore, the choice of how much if anything that is paid for treatment is the option of the petitioner. If a no cost facility is found, the signing of the guarantee of payment is directed to less expensive costs that could be incurred, such as the evaluations. Petitioners are required to pay for two evaluations which can cost several hundred dollars, again depending on the choices of the petitioner. As Sharon pointed out, we knew that a “fiscal component” to our legislation would be “a huge hurdle”. Therefore, no fiscal note was attached to Casey’s Law. In Kentucky, we are fortunate to have facilities that are of no cost which gives any petitioner, regardless of their ability to pay, a better opportunity to use Casey’s Law, an intervention without criminal charges or age limit that can and has saved lives.
    Charlotte Wethington, Casey’s mom

  2. Sharon Blair / June 3, 2013 at 9:44 am

    **Please note the last sentence: (who pays for the treatment and all costs).
    The fiscal component has been a huge hurdle for The Jennifer Act.
    The mission of The Jennifer Act was inspired by the death of my daughter Jennifer, who died of an accidental RX prescription medication overdose in Largo, FL. I filed 5 involuntary commitment petitions in Florida for Jennifer to get help and treatment. She repeatedly fell through the cracks of the court system, her addiction progressed and as a result, she died.

    My mission is to improve FLORIDA’s commitment law and INDIANA’s commitment law (with the passing of SCR No.7).

    Sharon Blair

  3. Avatar of Raymond Ferrero, Esq
    Raymond Ferrero, Esq / May 29, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    It is actually 37 other states that have some form or “involuntary commitment” law. Florida is the most progressive, if the goal is long term care and monitoring by the courts.

  4. Fr. Jack Kearney / May 29, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Studies have show that addicts do as well as or better in involuntary treatment vs. voluntary, so I think these are good laws. Might be better, however, to insist that families try a professional intervention first.
    Does forcing the family to pay for the treatment mean that only wealthy people can benefit from these laws?

  5. Avatar of Diane Lininger
    Diane Lininger / July 2, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    You say there are 37 states that have some form of involuntary committment – do you know which states those are and the names of laws? I am doing research. Thank you

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