The Marchman Act

The Marchman Act is an involuntary statute in the state of Florida that allows the loved ones of an addict or alcoholic to involuntarily commit them to a detox or long-term inpatient treatment facility if they refuse to do some themselves despite risk of serious harm or death. The procedure is both civil and confidential, and is often utilized by family members to get their loved one the help that they may themselves be unaware they need. A spouse or blood relative can implement the act, as well as three people who have extensive knowledge of the at-risk individual and are aware of the danger they pose to themselves and others. In Southern Florida specifically, which has quickly become the rehab capital of the world, the Marchman Act has proven essential to the well being of many men and women who may have otherwise lost their lives to addiction.

What is the Marchman Act?

A law enforcement officer may have an individual placed involuntarily in treatment if he or she exhibits irrational, dangerous, or blatant drug or alcohol-induced behavior in a public place or in a way that has drawn the attention of law enforcement. In many cases, an intoxicated individual who completely lacks control of their actions based on what might be called ‘temporary insanity’ due to addiction or alcoholism will be given the option to commit him or herself voluntarily to a treatment facility. In most cases an addict will refuse this offer, insisting that he or she is not in need of treatment – that he or she does not have a problem. It is important to remember that the disease of addiction is riddled with denial, and it is rare that the addict has an accurate opinion of what is best for him or her.

Who Can The Marchman Act Help?

The Marchman Act also contains provisions concerning and addressing areas other than involuntary commitment, including voluntary admission, voluntary drug court, treatment for habitual users, inmate substance abuse programs, and licensing of service providers. The Florida Marchman Act specifically provides five differing avenues directly related to involuntary treatment. The first three do not involve the court in any way. These include: emergency treatment admission, protective custody, and involuntary assessment of a minor. Court-related involuntary action falls into two separate categories – involuntary assessment and stabilization and involuntary treatment. If someone you love is battling an addiction to drugs or alcohol and is in denial about the fact that they need treatment, contact one of our trained representatives to find out more about the Marchman Act, and how you can get your loved one into treatment before it is too late.

The Baker Act

The Florida Mental Health Act of 1971, what has become more commonly known as ‘The Baker Act’, is intended to allow the involuntary institutionalization of an individual who is suffering from a psychological condition and may not be mentally capable of admitting him or herself. Sometimes examining an individual is crucial and time sensitive, and this act allows a judge, law enforcement official, mental health professional, or physician to request an individual be involuntary examined in a timely manner. One might be a target of the Baker Act if they potentially suffer from serious mental illness or if they may pose harm to themselves, harm to others, or are self-neglectful. Once an individual is committed, the examination may last up to 72 hours even after he or she is deemed mentally stable.

What is the Baker Act?

Once an individual has been committed, there are several possible outcomes. If a person is competent, they may commit to treatment voluntarily. They may be deemed stable and released back into the community, or if proven a danger, there may be petitions to involuntary commit them to inpatient treatment. Involuntary outpatient treatment is also an option – an amendment that was made to the act in 2005. Florida is the only state with the Baker Act, and it is prevalently used throughout the states to commit drug addicts and alcoholics who are not mentally coherent and capable of taking care of themselves. Because the recovery scene is booming in Southern Florida particularly, this region has seen a great increase in Baker Act attempts over the course of the past several years. Although it is more common for addicts and alcoholics to be involuntarily committed as a result of the Marchman Act (which places an individual battling substance abuse in residential treatment), the Baker Act is also frequently employed based on its immediacy and the fact that many addicts and alcoholics are severely mentally unstable and dangerous while under the influence.

Why is the Baker Act Important?

The term has been transformed into a verb, used commonly in reference to individuals who may be mentally unstable and in need of urgent medical and psychological care. “Baker Acted” has quickly become a household term, despite the fact that many use it without a comprehensive knowledge of its meaning. The Baker Act is an important part of the mental health industry, and has undeniably saved innumerable lives since it was first implemented.