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What happens when someone is forced into rehab

06-04-18 Category: Drug Addiction

What happens when someone is forced into rehab

When someone enters an addiction help center by choice, the chances of recovery are more compared to when he/she is coerced into an addiction clinic. However, in certain instances it becomes imperative for others, including parents, spouse, etc., to take the help of law to commit a person to an addiction disorder treatment against his/her will. Currently, there are 35 states in America where families or physicians can appeal to a judge to order a person into rehab. Unfortunately, the provision is rarely put into practice.

In Washington, a law that came into effect on April 1, 2018, granted mental health professionals the right to exercise emergency powers to send a person to an addiction clinic if they identified him/her as a chronic substance abuser. Similarly, in the state of Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker finalized a legislation that allowed police officers to detain a person for treatment for three days, in case the need arises. However, in both the states, the judge’s orders would be a prerequisite for treatment.

Similarly, in Massachusetts there is a provision that allows judges to order people addicted to drugs to undergo three months of forced rehab. The lawmakers are also thinking of passing a legislation that would give medical professionals the power to order individuals with a drug habit three days of rehab. In this case, the judge’s order will not be a prerequisite, under the law.

According to an Associated Press (AP) report, the numbers of forced rehabs have risen in many states in America. There were more than 10,000 requests for involuntary rehab in 2015 and 2016 in Florida as against 4,000 requests for commitment in the year 2000. Similarly, Massachusetts had over 6,000 requests for forced rehabilitation in 2016 and 2017, as against around 3,000 requests it saw in 2006.

Shortsighted approach

There are many for whom the approach of forced rehab worked. Now that they are clean they thank their guardians/spouses/state/caregivers for forcing them into an addiction help center. But for many forced rehabs simply do not work as they are not yet ready to accept the treatment. On the other hand, when a person realizes that he/she has a problem, the commitment for kicking the habit comes from within and hence the chance of relapse is significantly lower.

Then there is the problem of the lack of availability of beds and staff. Most of the emergency departments (ED) in the U.S. lack in both. It has also become a standard practice to dump patients with mental disorders in either EDs or prisons until a suitable alternative is found. Therefore, giving doctors the license to hold people with a substance use disorder in ED against the patient’s better judgement will only tax the department further.

Moreover, there is no evidence till date that involuntary rehabilitation is successful. Even in states where the overdose rates have fallen, forced rehabilitation is not cited as the reason behind the success. In Massachusetts, where instances of fatal overdoses have dropped drastically, better trained medical professionals, more beds in hospitals, regulation of painkillers and easy availability of the opioid antidote naloxone, have been credited with the drastic reduction in fatalities, not forced commitments.

Forced rehab, part of cure

It is difficult to overcome addiction without help from opioids addiction rehab as it helps the individual battling an addiction to get rid of the toxins (detox), manage cravings and thereafter adjust to a life without drugs in a medically supervised setting. Whether a person relapses or not, an involuntary commitment should ideally be considered the beginning of a long-term strategy for combatting addiction.

Addiction recovery requires one to be extremely patient and committed to the opioid addiction treatment program. Though the tenure and extent of recovery has a lot to do with the severity of the addiction, experts at Sovereign Health maintain that complete recovery is possible with medical interventions, combined with psychotherapeutic measures. For more information about our opioid addiction treatment centers, call our 24/7 helpline. You may also chat online with our representative for additional details.

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