Day: February 12, 2022

Differences Between the Baker Act and Marchman Act

While the Baker Act and Marchman Act can both be used to involuntarily commit individuals to treatment while they are in the midst of a mental health crisis, there are significant differences between the two acts and how each should be used.

To explain the contrast between the Baker Act and Marchman Act, we will explore, in depth, how each of these acts can be used to protect someone who is struggling with a serious mental health issue from substantial harm. The following criteria should help give you an idea of which act may be more effective when it comes to getting your loved one into the appropriate form of treatment.

Using The Baker Act To Help A Loved One With Mental Illness

The Baker Act is a Florida law that allows an individual to be held for up to 72 hours for an involuntary assessment if his or her mental illness poses a real and present threat of serious bodily harm to the individual themselves or to others. Such harm often involves the threat of suicide, or of such neglect to his or her well being that person’s ability to make a rational decision about their need for care must be called into question.

Generally, the Baker Act can only be initiated by a qualified professional. This could include a law enforcement officer, psychiatric nurses, or other behavioral health professionals who are familiar with the patient and the risk of physical harm that their mental health issue poses.

One may also technically use the Baker Act to directly petition for involuntary assessment to the court themselves, but this is done far more rarely. So, if you are concerned about someone who refuses to seek treatment or to agree to a voluntary examination, your best bet may be to call emergency services so that the law enforcement professional called to the scene can determine if a Baker Act is necessary.

If it is, and if the court can determine that the patient meets Baker Act criteria, the person will then undergo involuntary assessment, during which a mental health examination will be conducted by two different qualified professionals. If those professionals agree that the person is likely to cause harm to themselves or others, they will then recommend treatment.

The patient will then have another opportunity to agree to voluntary treatment. But, if they remain defiant, the court may enact an ex parte order forcing them into treatment if their refusal poses a clear threat to themselves or others. Court ordered treatment can be inpatient or outpatient, and can last until the person is determined to no longer be in danger.

Using The Marchman Act To Help A Loved One Struggling With Substance Abuse

The Marchman Act is a Florida law that allows for involuntary assessment and, potentially, involuntary treatment of a severely substance impaired person who has refused voluntary examination and/or voluntary treatment. Spouses and family members or law enforcement or mental health professionals may petition the court using the Marchman Act, in which case only a singular filer would be necessary. However, three people who have no specific relationship to the person but have direct personal knowledge of the person’s substance abuse may also jointly file a Marchman Act petition.

Once the loved one or professional can petition the court, the judge will then set a hearing to take place in the next ten days, unless an ex parte or emergency order is deemed necessary to request examination sooner. At the hearing, those who filed the petition for involuntary assessment will testify to the degree to which their substance abuse impaired loved one is incapacitated. For instance, they may describe how recent behavior like extreme self neglect points to a dangerous lack of self control.

If the judge rules that the person meets the criteria for involuntary assessment, the person can be taken into custody and taken to a licensed service provider equipped to handle Marchman Act patients. After an involuntary examination by this licensed service provider, which should be conducted by at least two mental health professionals, the person may be released if professionals determine that their drug use does not qualify them for involuntary services.

If the person does meet the criteria for involuntary treatment based on their initial assessment, they will first be given the opportunity to agree to substance abuse services voluntarily. If they do not, the administrator of the facility must file a new petition for involuntary services, which will result in another hearing. One of the mental health professionals who conducted the involuntary examination must testify at this hearing, though both sides can still call any other family member or loved one that they want as a witness.

If the judge finds that the person does meet the Marchman Act criteria for involuntary substance abuse treatment, and determines that a less restrictive form of treatment has a substantial likelihood being unable to help the person, the court may then order the person into treatment for a maximum of ninety days, with one potential ninety day renewal.

The Connection Between Mental Health Issues And Substance Abuse

The reason that the Baker Act and Marchman Act can sometimes both be applicable to certain situations is because drug addiction, also known as substance use disorder, is technically classified as a mental health disorder.

Thus, Florida citizens may be able to petition for involuntary assessment using either act for a person who is suffering from substance abuse impairment, and even someone initially court ordered to receive treatment under the Baker Act could theoretically be ordered to complete specialized substance abuse treatment if substance use appears to be their primary problem.

And, since mental health issues are known to be highly correlated with addiction, it is highly possible that a person who is in crisis due to their addiction may also be mentally ill. Fortunately, mental health services are also usually offered during addiction treatment, so a person who is ruled unable to exercise self control due to their addiction by the court under the Marchman Act and ultimately enters treatment will likely see their overall mental health improve as well.

However, while the Baker Act can be used on a person suffering from addiction, it does not work the other way around: you cannot use the Marchman Act in court to request examination or treatment for someone who is mentally ill but who is not abusing substances.

To learn more about the Marchman Act, the Baker Act, and which one might be applicable to your loved one, you can review these resources or call our hotline any time at 833-497-3808. We also offer such services as professional intervention counseling, and can help your family to file a Marchman Act petition if your loved one remains unwilling to consider treatment despite our best efforts.

If your loved one is currently struggling with addiction and you believe that they may qualify for involuntary examination under the Marchman Act in the near future, we can guide you through every step of the process, from your initial petition to your court hearing.

We can also assist you in finding a rehab center or private practitioner where your loved one can attend treatment if the intervention or petition is successful. To learn more about this or our other services, feel free to contact us anytime here.

What Happens to My Job if I Attend Rehab?

Why Going To Rehab Is The Best Option To Seek Treatment For Substance Abuse

Risks Of Drug And Alcohol Abuse

Drug addiction, which is medically referred to as a substance use disorder, is an incredibly serious health condition that generally warrants treatment at American addiction centers. Particularly with more severe addictions or substance abuse issues, the risk of irreversibly harming your physical health through frequent drug abuse will only grow larger the longer you delay addiction recovery. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, these risks can range from everything from lowered IQ to bowel decay to permanent brain, liver, lung, or kidney damage.

Aside from those medical reasons to be wary of substance use disorders, there’s also the risk of falling prey to the overdose epidemic, particularly with strong drugs like opiates or any street drug that could be tainted with dangerously powerful fentanyl. There’s also the risk of irreversible legal or physical consequences from engaging in dangerous behaviors like drunk driving or impulsive sexual encounters.

On the mental health side, the longer you continue your drug and alcohol abuse, the more psychologically entrenched your destructive patterns will become, making addiction recovery harder and harder to achieve. Co occurring disorders will also have a chance to worsen into an increasingly complex and serious medical condition.

Though many people delay seeking treatment until they have reached a “rock bottom” following life events that are so catastrophic that they feel as if they have no choice but to go to drug rehab, treatment options and outcomes are generally more positive for those who begin the treatment process earlier in their addiction.

Benefits Of Addiction Treatment

American addiction centers can help you deal with any co occurring disorders that may have fueled your addiction issues, thus likely improving your work performance and productivity as well as your overall mental health and well-being.

Addiction treatment can also educate you on healthier coping mechanisms that you can use to deal with painful feelings instead of resorting to substance abuse to cope, and can help you build connections with the recovery community that will lay the groundwork for you to live a happier, sober life long term.

How Do I Find The Right Treatment Center For My Or A Loved One’s Substance Use Disorder?

American addiction centers vary widely in the types of addiction treatment program they offer. Treatment options like intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) may allow for someone to continue working even as they receive addiction treatment. This is because patients are not required to live in the treatment facility itself, instead spending between 6-30 hours in treatment and the rest free to attend to their responsibilities and live their everyday life as they see fit.

Of course, such a treatment center would not be appropriate for someone who needed acute detox for medical reasons, or whose mental illness was severe enough that they were acutely suicidal or at high risk of relapse. But, it may actually be possible for someone with milder issues to receive treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction without even letting their employer know they are going to rehab at all.

For many workers, though, including those whose severe addictions preclude a less restrictive form of treatment, taking leave from work may be a reality if they need to attend drug rehab.

Going To Rehab If You Have A Job

The decision to attend treatment for substance abuse problems is one of the best decisions you can a make if you are struggling with a substance use disorder. However, you may also be worried about the professional consequences that may occur if you choose to attend treatment, or about the substantial stigma that can come with this diagnosis. Since addiction is one of the most stigmatized conditions in the world, these fears are clearly not groundless.

Luckily, though, federal law protects the rights and privacy of people struggling to control their drug or alcohol use if those people are dedicated to seeking treatment and to following the correct protocol when procuring appropriate treatment options. To learn more about what is and is not required of you and of your employers if you are thinking of taking time off work for going to rehab, you can read through our guide below.

Can I Be Fired For Going To Rehab For Drug And Alcohol Addiction?

Though fear of getting fired for going to American addiction centers is one of the biggest reasons that those struggling with addiction delay entering a rehab program, the fact that addiction is a widely recognized medical condition means that certain legal protections do apply to it. The moment you enter addiction recovery and stop your drug or alcohol use, your past drug use becomes a federally protected disability that you cannot legally be penalized for.

However, while you generally cannot be fired for your past drug use or fired for going to rehab, you can get fired due to do a current substance use disorder that interferes with your job performance. If you are currently in the midst of an active addiction to illegal drugs, you are inherently less trustworthy due to your criminal behavior, and thus you can rightly and legally be fired.

Your employer will also likely have legitimate grounds for your termination if your drug or alcohol use is impairing your work performance or posing a threat to other employees, and be aware that company policy could likely prohibit the use of even legal drugs while in the workplace.

Employers maintain their right to a drug free workplace at all times, which is why the administration of drug tests to scan for illegal drugs are permitted, and why you may be liable for termination if you fail such a drug test. However, you may also be referred to a treatment provider or an employee assistance program and given the chance to attend addiction treatment instead depending on your workplace’s specific policy.

Note, though, that required drug tests cannot be used to fire any employee based on any legitimate prescription drugs they are taking, even if those drugs are also substances of abuse, such as some opiate painkillers and stimulant drugs used for attention deficit disorder. This also applies even to drugs like methadone or Suboxone, which are sometimes used to facilitate addiction recovery.

Furthermore, even if your employer never obtains proof that you have an addiction and thus will not be able to fire you for your addiction per se, they may be able to fire you due to its consequences. Over time, substance use disorders are likely to result in declining physical and mental health and thus to increased absenteeism and declining work performance, all of which can be detrimental to your career and put your job security at risk. In the long run, maintaining a sober life is the best way protect your financial livelihood as well as your more holistic well-being.

What Protections Do I Have If I Seek Treatment For Drug Or Alcohol Use?

How To Use The Family And Medical Leave Act To Seek Substance Abuse Treatment

Federal law protects the job security of those seeking treatment for any serious medical condition, including substance use disorders, with a policy of the United States Department of Labor called the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA.

FMLA also allows for leave based on the serious medical condition of an immediate family member or the birth of or new adoption of a child, and your employer is required to continue providing you with health insurance coverage during whatever leave you end up taking.

FMLA leave can be taken for a period of up to twelve weeks, which will refresh yearly, meaning that you may be able to use this act more than once if you need multiple rounds of addiction treatment after a relapse. Twelve weeks adds up to around 84 days, so a 30 or 60 day stay in an addiction treatment facility would likely fit into that window.

The act is applicable to employees of all private employers with more than 50 employees in any 75 mile radius, employees of all public agencies, and employees of all public or private elementary schools. Eligible employees must have been working at the place in question for at least 12 months and must have worked 1,250 hours or more total.

However, you should be aware that FMLA leave will generally be unpaid leave, unless your employer requires you or unless you choose to take paid leave that you have accrued concurrently. You also will likely be required to submit documentation of your condition, such as through a doctor’s note or proof of your enrollment in a treatment facility.

It’s also possible that you may be asked by your employer to sign a return to work agreement involving stipulations on your behavior after you have completed treatment and rejoined the workplace. For example, you may be asked to refrain from all substance use and required to submit to a regular drug test to prove that you are clean, or to submit proof of your continual attendance at treatment appointments or twelve step meetings to solidify your sobriety.

Provided that those requirements are met, your employer will be required to reinstate you to your former position or to a position that is virtually equivalent in terms of pay, benefits, and working conditions upon your return. Besides those conditions that they set forth to ensure a safe and drug free workplace, it will be illegal for them to discriminate against you because of your health history.

Exceptions to the reinstatement clause may also be made if you are a key employee, one of the highest paid ten percent of employees at your location. If you are a key employee and your employer also determines that reinstating you would cause them undue injury, they may not be required to give you your job back after your leave for addiction treatment, though they must notify you when you request that leave that this will be the case.

How To Use The Americans With Disabilities Act When Seeking Addiction Treatment

The Americans with Disabilities Act is designed to protect qualified employees who suffer from “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities,” or who have suffered from such an impairment in the past.

This act allows you to request reasonable accommodations for such a condition, including drug or alcohol dependence or another mental health problem, potentially including medical leave for treatment at American addiction centers. While you are not guaranteed leave under this act, you may be able to ask for it as one of the reasonable accommodations the law allows for.

And, again, unless your substance use disorder has been causing problems at work (eg, if you have been coming to work high or drunk), this act will prevent your employer for penalizing you for your drug addiction after you seek treatment, or for using your own personal vacation time to attend rehab.

Unlike the Family and Medical Leave Act, this statute comes with no minimum tenure, and your place of employment only needs to have 15 employees (or be a state or local government agency). Similarly to FMLA leave, your employer will be required to reinstate you upon your return unless that return would pose an undue hardship to them, in which case they will still be required to consider reassigning you to any vacant position that you are still qualified for.

Even if you do not require complete leave, you may qualify for other reasonable accommodations under the Americans With Disabilities Act. For instance, you may be able to arrange a modified work schedule to accommodate your attendance at an outpatient treatment program or regular twelve step meetings, or a part-time schedule to lower your workload and stress levels as you deal with physical withdrawals or the draining psychological work of addiction treatment.

Is My Privacy Protected If I Disclose My Substance Abuse Issues To An Employer?

Both the Family and Medical Leave Act and the Americans with Disabilities act contain provisions that protect your privacy if you disclose a drug or alcohol problem. However, you should be aware that limited exceptions may be permitted, as details of your conditions may be disclosed to your supervisors if it is deemed essential to your health or performance, as well as to first aid personnel in the case of an emergency or to government officials¬†who are investigating your employer’s compliance with the aforementioned statutes.

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, also known as HIPAA, also prevents your treatment providers from disclosing any information about your addiction treatment to others, including your employer. However, there are some exceptions to this act as well, such as if a patient represents an imminent threat to themselves or others, or represents a threat to public health or safety.

Outside of these exceptions, though, it will likely be up to you choose how much about your substance use disorder and your time spent going to rehab you reveal to your other coworkers and colleagues. Though you should not be ashamed of seeking help for your medical condition, you may find it more comfortable or appropriate to refer only to non-specific health issues rather than reveal your full history with substance use disorder, and it is within your rights to do so.

How To Approach My Employer About Going To Rehab?

If you are considering going on medical leave at any American addiction centers to address your drug and alcohol use, you want to start by approaching your human services or human resources department about your plans to receive treatment. FMLA and ADA policies also require that notice of an impending leave or other necessary accommodation be given to your employer as early as is reasonable, so, if you have made a definitive decision to contact a treatment facility, time is of the essence.

When approaching your employer, you should be as honest and straightforward as possible, and should already have your rehab program lined up so that they know that you are serious about wanting to seek help. You should also try to approach your boss or supervisor first, rather than letting them hear of the problem second-hand through potentially toxic gossip.

Dealing With Treatment Costs While Attending Rehab

Treatment options and their affordability will depend on your individual budget and on your health insurance provider, which may be associated with your current employer. However, most providers should recognize your addiction as a serious health condition and be able to cover at least a portion of your addiction treatment. The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (MHPAEA) actually makes it illegal for large group health plans to offer less favorable treatment to people struggling with drug addiction or other mental health issues than offered those struggling with physical health problems.

Additionally, some workplaces offer an employee assistance program that could be applicable to employees suffering from substance use disorders. This is a voluntary program that can offer services like counseling, treatment referrals, assessments, education, and and consultation to employees dealing with health or personal issues.

Such a service could help connect you or a loved one with treatment centers and to manage their emotions as they deal with addiction. Some American addiction centers will also be able to work with you on payment plans or offer reduced rates or treatment scholarships if you are having trouble paying for treatment options on your own.

Seeking Addiction Treatment For Yourself Or A Loved One

Using The Florida Marchman Act To Force Someone Into Addiction Treatment

If someone who you care about is clearly a danger to themselves or others due to their substance abuse but is unwilling to commit to treatment on their own, you may be able to use the Florida Marchman Act to legally compel them to enter treatment at certain American addiction centers.

Location of this person must be in whatever Florida county you intend on filing a Marchman Act petition in, and you must be able to prove before a judge that they will be a danger to themselves or to others if they are not compelled to seek help from an appropriate treatment provider.

You will also have to pay for this treatment yourself, so you will want to check with your insurance provider to find treatment centers that will accord with your financial as well as medical requirements. Any immediate family member of the person in question, a treatment provider who is familiar with their condition, or any three unrelated individuals can file one of these Marchman Act petitions.

However, invoking the Marchman Act can be an emotionally fraught and financially taxing process, especially if you enlist the guidance of a lawyer to assist you in filing your petition. Thus, we recommend that this only be used as a last resort if a loved one is unwilling to consider treatment centers on their own and other attempted interventions have failed.

Contact Our Helpline Today

To learn more about the Marchman Act process and how you can connect your loved one with an appropriate treatment provider, feel free to contact one of our skilled intervention counselors, who are experts in addiction medicine and in American addiction centers as well as in the Florida Marchman Act. You can call us anytime at 833-497-3808 or contact us online anytime here.

How to Find the Right Addiction Treatment Program

What To Look For In Addiction Treatment Programs

Treating addiction is no simple matter, and finding the right treatment program for yourself or a loved one may not be easy either. Of the multitudes of treatment programs out there for drug and alcohol addiction, not all are created equal, with ineffective and outright corrupt rehab facilities operating along with competent and righteous treatment centers.

For this reason, you’ll want to make sure you do your research on any given drug rehab program before seriously considering their treatment program for yourself or your loved one. You’ll also want to choose a treatment facility that has been in business for an extended period if possible, as even a well meaning “new kid on the block” is unlikely to be as well organized and effectively run as a rehab facility boasting a more extensive track record.

Generally, a treatment center that has been in operation for five years or more should be a good starting point. You can also assess treatment centers by searching for first hand testimonials that former patients have written about their experiences in the treatment facility, which, along with showing you how others feel about the treatment provider, should give you an idea of what treatment models the facility utilizes and what kind of treatment options you can expect your loved one to receive.

Treatment providers should also show evidence of having the appropriate accreditations, such as by reputable organizations like the National Institute of Health, Joint Commission International, or the Commission on Accreditation of Rehab Facilities. To find testimonials and accreditation information online, you can also utilize resources like rehab.com, a site run by American Addiction Centers that provides in depth information about a multitude of treatment facilities in a convenient and easy to parse format.

You will also want to ensure that the addiction treatment professionals that staff a drug or alcohol treatment center are properly accredited and properly qualified along with the program itself. For instance, you will want to make sure there is at least one addiction medicine physician on staff who can prescribe any appropriate medications and address any other medical conditions that may arise in addiction recovery.

Similarly, all therapists on staff should be licensed counselors, meaning that they have been educated in the field of psychology at the master’s level as well as other specialized training and demonstrated their expertise through examinations.

Then, because mental health issues so often overlap with drug addiction, you will also likely want to get an idea of how any given rehab center deals with dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis refers to the diagnosis of a mental health disorder in someone who is also struggling with drug abuse.

If this is the case for you or your loved one, you will want to find a treatment center that offers mental health services specific to whatever co occurring disorders they may be dealing with. You’ll also want to make sure you find a substance abuse treatment center that uses an evidence based treatment approach.

Evidence based models are those that use are supported by verifiable facts, such as scientific studies in addiction medicine and documented treatment outcome statistics. Such an approach will likely include individual therapy using proven methodologies like cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as support groups and group therapy to facilitate the fellowship and communion among patients that has been widely associated with positive treatment outcomes.

Then, while it may seem counterintuitive, you should also be particularly wary of any rehab program that seems to guarantee success. While drug rehab programs are usually the most effective treatment option for someone struggling with drug or alcohol addiction and full recovery is possible for most patients, addiction recovery is never a sure thing for any individual, so someone purporting a hundred percent effective treatment plan is naturally being disingenuous.

You should also be skeptical of any rehab centers that offer patients gifts or cash payment in exchange for treatment, which could indicate a dangerous health care provider who seeks to cash in on hefty insurance payments instead of providing the quality addiction treatment that they promise. Similarly, you should be suspicious if a rehab center’s site seems to focus only on issues of insurance and payment without providing much information about the addiction treatment options that they actually provide.

Ideally, rehab centers should also understand that addiction issues affect the entire family, and should thus provide family members the opportunity to engage in programs like family therapy with their loved one and/or to visit or communicate with their loved one regularly.

Along with these general notes, some aspects of finding the right rehab for your loved one will be more individualized. For instance, some rehab facilities cater to specific groups, such as young adults, women and girls, LGBT-Q identifying individuals, veterans, or individuals of a specific faith. Such a program may be able to offer a unique sense of safety and belonging that could help facilitate their recovery, and to focus on issues that may be more specific to their experience than might a more general program.

Then, there’s the matter of what physical treatment setting you are looking for, and thus whether you would prefer to only consider treatment providers close to home. While some practical benefits may be found from attending drug or alcohol abuse treatment nearby, such as the opportunity for a patient to engage with their existing support networks, an individualized treatment plan somewhere completely new may also allow you or your loved one to take a valuable step away from the people, places, and things that they associate with their addiction.

Also on a more practical level, the right rehab for you should also be a healthcare provider who will be able to work with your health insurance provider, and that has costs within an affordable price range for you and your family.

However, as long as medical reviewers are able to ensure the validity of an individual’s situation, insurers will usually be compelled to cover reasonable treatment for their addiction thanks to measures like the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act, which makes it illegal for large group plans to treat mental health conditions like addiction any differently than they treat physical health conditions.

Inpatient VS Outpatient Treatment Centers

In searching for the right treatment center, you also may find yourself wondering about the distinction between inpatient or residential treatment and outpatient addiction treatment. Basically, the main difference between inpatient treatment and outpatient treatment programs is that patients live at their treatment center in the case of the former but not of the latter.

Though inpatient treatment is probably more in line with your idea of a drug rehab center, many patients find that an intensive outpatient program is as or more suited to their needs than residential treatment. This may be because it has the benefit of allowing them to deal with temptation in the real world during their recovery process rather than secluding them from it, and allows them to maintain more connections to their support system and their former life.

As attested to by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, longer rehab programs are also more effective at preventing alcohol and drug relapse than shorter ones, so an intensive outpatient program may also be a convenient way to extend an individual’s treatment plan without requiring them to stay longer in residential treatment.

Inpatient treatment also shouldn’t be confused with a detox unit, which will usually only house patients for a few days to see them through painful and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms, offering necessary clinical care in the case of any acute medical conditions related to withdrawal. While important in their own right, detox services are generally only a stepping stone on an individual’s path to more comprehensive inpatient or outpatient treatment for an addiction.

Using The Marchman Act To Compel Involuntary Commitment

Once you have found the right treatment provider for your loved one, you should be prepared for the unfortunate possibility that you may face the additional struggle of that loved one not being prepared to accept treatment.

Denial and resistance to treatment are both well-documented aspects of the disease of addiction, as those affected by it may be so desperate to continue their drug use that they are incapable of acting in their own best interests or seeing the danger of their situation clearly. In such a circumstance, you may be able to use a Florida statute called the Marchman Act to legally require your loved one to enter substance abuse treatment or risk facing legal consequences if they do not comply.

To learn more about how one of our skilled intervention counselors can guide you through the Marchman Act process and help you ensure that your loved one receives the proper treatment for their addiction, feel free to call our helpline anytime at 833-497-3808 or contact us online here. Though involuntary commitment should be a last resort, it is sometimes a necessary step in saving a patient’s life.