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Yes, you may file a new petition. However, it is not automatic that she/he will be committed based on a history of having been committed before. The statute (law) addresses individuals whose substance use results in the current likelihood of serious harm. It does not address many individuals whose chronic use of alcohol or other drugs may have dire long term consequences.
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No, there are other options. Many outpatient substance abuse treatment programs and private counselors conduct formal interventions. It is important to work with a professional who can help you decide if this process is appropriate for your family or client.
Set your bottom line, examples of bottom lines can be:
We know that people important to the individual abusing substances can have a tremendous impact both positively and negatively on a person's denial of their substance abuse problem.
Individuals who are requesting treatment on their own should be considered for referral to public programs that can provide treatment on a voluntary basis, rather than be referred to a Section 35 petition process.
These adults may request the district court to commitment someone to treatment under Section 35:
They must go to the local court and fill out papers. In legal language, they must file a written petition for an order of commitment.
file a written petition for an order of commitment
Here are the next steps in order:
The court will review medical facts (evidence) from the exam and other evidence that relates to the case.
The court can order commitment only if both of the following are true:
To meet the criteria for civil commitment, likelihood of serious harm must exceed what harm can be reasonably assumed to exist, when any individual abuses alcohol or other drugs. The statute defines likelihood of serious harm as the following:
likelihood of serious harm
The likelihood of serious harm must be directly related to the substance abuse and must be a current threat.
he judge orders her/him to a licensed inpatient substance abuse treatment facility such as, the Women's Addiction Treatment Center (WATC) facility in New Bedford, the Men's Addiction Treatment Center (MATC) in Brockton or another community treatment center. If a bed is not available the commitment could be to:
Once committed to a facility, an assessment will be completed regarding the person's need for detoxification. The length of time in a detoxification unit varies depending on the substance she/he is using, the amount of use, the time since her/his last use, and her/his overall health.
Once detoxification is complete she/he will receive rehabilitation services. This may or may not be in the same facility. Moreover, in the rehabilitation phase, the individual learns more about addiction, how to stay sober, and how to prevent relapse. Counselors then encourage individuals to engage in aftercare treatment services and supports.
Some individuals may have complicated medical conditions that cannot be appropriately treated in a standard detoxification unit. They may require what is called a Level 4 program which would be in a hospital setting, if they have conditions such as the following:
If a client has a psychiatric disorder which needs to be stabilized and/or managed to be able to treat the substance addiction they will have to be referred to a psychiatric hospital. Some examples of these disorders or symptoms are:
The length of the civil commitment will vary with the severity of the client's addiction and the client's response to treatment. The commitment cannot exceed 90 days.
Recovery is a process and detoxification is a start. For some individuals, a civil commitment to treatment begins their recovery. Others do not see a need to stop using alcohol or other drugs. It is helpful for family and friends to learn about addiction and to understand the process of recovery. Self-help organizations, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon and Nar-Anon are resources for families and friends.