Many people along the Treasure Coast are likely to have a close relative or other loved one who is struggling with a serious mental illness or an addiction to alcohol or drugs. This can be a frustrating situation since the State of Florida only has limited resources to deal with these issues. Unfortunately, the State may not be available to give the person help until he or she has committed a crime.

The Marchman Act and the Baker Act are options for concerned families

Florida has two different laws on the books, the Marchman Act and the Baker Act. The Marchman Act is available when the life of drug or alcohol addict is unraveling, but the person is not willing to seek treatment herself. The Baker Act is similar in that families can use it to compel a person to get the treatment he needs, but applies to those who have serious mental health issues and who, as a result, are at risk of hurting themselves or others.

Depending on their circumstances, a family could avail itself of either one of these laws, or even both of them, in order to make sure that their loved one gets the help they need even if they do not want it. However, anyone seeking to compel treatment will have to follow the strict legal requirements of these laws.

Both of these laws have the potential for abuse

One reason that the courts of this state will insist on strict compliance is that these laws are too often abused. Family members who in reality want to control another person or their property, or just take advantage of them, may say that a relative has an addiction or mental health issue when in fact the person is fully capable of fending for herself. Just like someone who needs to use these laws to help a struggling family member, a person who is taken advantage of through these laws will want to consider seeking professional legal counsel.

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