What is Casey’s Law?

Drug addiction and alcohol abuse has become a growing epidemic and has contributed to an alarming increase in overdose-related deaths. Now more than ever, substance addiction treatment is needed to help individuals relinquish their dependence on harmful and mind-altering drugs. However, because of the nature of the addiction in which it can alter normal brain functions and impair the ability to make rational decisions, those who are addicted to drugs do not always want to get the help they desperately need. They are often in denial, have a distorted mindset and are unable to recognize that they need help. In the past, families and loved ones of substance abusers had very few options to get them the necessary treatments. Treatment was only given if the individual voluntarily consented.

A purple print of a lighthouse, the logo for the Casey’s Law legislation movement.

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What is Casey’s Law? Named after Matthew Casey Wethington, Casey’s Law allows an individual suffering and abusing substances to be involuntarily committed into treatment by a family member, friend or loved one. It provides a means for intervening with someone who is unable to recognize the need for treatment because of his or her impairment. As a concerned mother, Charlotte was unable to get Casey substance abuse help for his addiction because he had continued to refuse treatment. Because he was of legally consenting age, there was nothing the law or authorities could do to persuade him otherwise. On August 19, 2004, at the age of 23, Casey died of a heroin overdose. The Matthew Casey Wethington Act for Substance Abuse Intervention became law on April 9, 2004. On July 13, 200,4 the law became legally effective in Kentucky. Since then, a total of 37 states and Washington, D.C. has also adopted their own laws regarding the ability to involuntarily commit a person to substance abuse treatment.

What is Casey’s Law in the state of Ohio? For Casey’s Law in Ohio, there are three main requirements that need to be met in order to petition for involuntary substance use disorder treatment. There must be proof of evidence that the individual is suffering from an alcohol or drug addiction. It must be shown the individual presents harm or danger to themselves and or others. And the individual must reasonably benefit from substance use disorder treatment. In an effort to help more families get their loved ones substance abuse care, new amendments to Casey’s Law in Ohio include the removal of a filing fee, no proof of insurance or coverage is needed up front, families no longer have to provide financing upfront and a physical examination of the individual in need of substance addiction treatment is not required upon initial intake.

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So what are the steps on how to involuntarily commit someone into rehab? The first step is to contact your county probate court to file a petition for “Casey’s Law.” Once a petition is filed, a court hearing and physical examination from a qualified health provider will be scheduled. The case will be thoroughly evaluated and once the courts deems the individual is in need of substance abuse help, they will be ordered into treatment. Options for drug and alcohol addiction treatment will range from detox, to inpatient and outpatient programming depending on the needs of the individual.

Research has shown that involuntary commitment to substance abuse treatment can be just as effective on someone who has voluntarily committed. Drug and alcohol addiction treatment providers such as Hotel California by the Sea provide a wide range of treatment options and services to help those who are suffering from an addiction recover and live a happier and healthier life. Hotel California by the Sea offers individualized care plans as well as unique treatments such as EMDR therapy and marriage and family therapy. For those who are suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, treatment whether it is forced or voluntary can lead to a pathway of healing and recovery.