The Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act of 1993, aka The Marchman Act, exists to provide emergency help or temporary detention for individuals addicted to substances that require evaluations or treatment. It represents a potentially effective tool to convince those addicted to drugs or alcohol to secure treatment when they refuse to enter the process voluntarily.
The Florida statute is for individuals who:
- Have no control over their illness
- Cannot rationalize the need for help
- Fail to make any rational decisions regarding their care
- Have become a danger to themselves and others
Civil courts can issue an order mandating the addicted individual to comply with assessment and treatment. Legal consequences exist for those who fail to comply.
Filing a petition for assessment is the first step in identifying the legitimacy of the issues and conducting an evaluation. The process starts by reaching out to the court clerk in the county where the individual resides.
Various scenarios are in play upon the issuance of an order. The impaired person must be served a summons to appear at a hearing, or an order is issued for law enforcement to deliver the individual to a facility and undergo evaluation, stabilization, or detoxification.
Upon completion of the evaluation, the original petitioners can file a petition for treatment subsequently reviewed by a judge. The order is valid for 60 days. Legal consequences exist should the impaired individual fail to comply.
Family members have options that include state-funded programs to complete evaluations and subsequently make recommendations to courts.
Pursuing a Marchman Act may be a simplified process. However, emotionally-charged issues can make the process difficult for loved ones who want to help or save the life of an addicted family member. Crisis situations only increase the fear and concerns felt by loved ones. However, proactive steps, regardless of how difficult they may be, can make a difference in what can be a life-or-death struggle.