It’s a question that has been asked by many people. Does forced drug treatment work?
What is forced drug treatment?
Forced drug treatment is any drug treatment where the patient has two choices, go to treatment and stay or go to jail. For most, the choice is easy enough and they choose drug treatment, but does it work? For years and years we have been told that you have to want the drug treatment in order for it to work, so what is this forced drug treatment about?
In Kentucky, there is a law called Casey’s Law. The law was created by the mother of an accidental heroin overdose. After begging the judge in one of her son’s criminal cases to hold him in jail, due to his heroin use, Charlotte Wethington found out that as long as her son was an adult there wasn’t anything she could do.
In order to file Casey’s Law, the family member must show proof that their loved one is in imminent danger due to their drug use. The judge must decide whether or not there is proof that their life is in danger. If the judge approves the case for Casey’s Law, the loved one is picked up by the police and is taken before the judge. They have the choice of going into drug treatment or going to jail.
Once the addict has agreed to treatment if they leave before the amount of time ordered by the judge, a warrant is issued and they will be arrested. Most of those ordered to drug treatment that leave end up on the run from not only the police but now their families as well. If they are picked up they are jailed until they can go before the judge. The judge more than likely will allow the patient back into drug treatment right away after the first time running, if there is a bed available.
Unless the addict has already been accepted at a drug treatment center they will have to wait in jail for an available bed. Usually, if they have private insurance they are moved into drug treatment quickly. Without insurance, it’s not uncommon for them to spend weeks waiting.
Learn about Casey’s Law by watching this video. The video explains Casey’s Law and the steps that you have to take to use the law.
I myself have mixed feelings about this law. On one hand, I completely understand why this law was created and on the surface, it seems like it could be a magic bullet for families in the fight for their loved one’s lives. On the other hand, I keep going back to the old saying that you have to want it, for it to work.
Statistics for forced treatment and voluntary are about the same when it comes to success. The idea is that nobody that has funds and ability to continue to get high stops…at least not many. It takes serious consequences in most cases for the person to give up using. I mean think about it, how often do you see someone on a role, up and decide they don’t want to stop using?
Ok, lets make this easier…tax time…an addict doesn’t go to treatment when the tax check comes. They go to drug treatment once they have spent the tax check and are completely broke. Of course, this isn’t every addict because we are people and we are all a bit different. But seriously, for the most part, we seek drug treatment when we hit the wall.
With forced treatment though, the court intervenes and before the person can spend the tax check they are forced into drug treatment. Once they get sobered up, and their mind, body, and soul have a chance to start healing they will see the situation they are in and will be able to make a better choice. That makes sense, really. The more often that we have a chance to see what we are doing to ourselves and others the more chance we have to make a different choice.
It is scary to think that your rights to live the way you want can be just taken away as an adult but at the same time as a parent, it is also scary to think you don’t have the right to save your adult child’s life.
What do you think the answer is?
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Recovery Advocates For Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™, Heroin News and the National Alliance of Addiction Treatment Centers (NAATC)
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