Substance Abuse: Can You Make Someone Go to Rehab?


By E. Jennifer Reale

Words cannot describe how hard it is to see a loved one suffer from an alcohol or drug problem.  Families go to great lengths to get loved ones the help they desperately need, but despite numerous attempts, treatment is often refused.

While it is certainly not easy to commit someone to a rehabilitation facility against the person’s wishes, under Connecticut law, it is a possibility.

Who can file a petition?

Any family member, friend, or other concerned person may petition the court to commit a person to a rehabilitation facility. Additionally, if the person is already in a facility, the facility may petition the court as well.

What is needed before I start the process?

In order to submit an application for involuntary commitment for substance abuse, you will need to secure the following:

  1. A facility that is willing to take your loved one.
  2. A physician who is ready to certify that your loved one is dangerous either to himself or to others, and that the proposed commitment is necessary to eliminate this danger. (While it is important to make sure that the physician is willing to certify this, you should speak with an attorney prior to obtaining the physician’s letter because there is a very small window the petition must be filed after the doctor performs the examination.)
  3. Other evidence and witnesses who can testify about your loved one’s struggle.

How fast can I get a hearing?

After receiving the proper application, the court must schedule a hearing within seven business days.

How long is the commitment for?

Depending on what the physician recommends, the commitment order may last between 30-180 days. If after the expiration of the order, the facility determines that additional treatment is needed, the facility may petition the court for an extension.

What else should I consider?

Of course, the goal is for your loved one to become an independent and healthy member of society after he or she is released from the rehabilitation facility.  From a practical standpoint, however, additional help will be needed in the route to recovery.  Consequently, your loved one will often require a conservator for a limited period of time.  (To learn more about conservatorships, click here.)

If you need help navigating the Connecticut probate court system to help your loved one get the protection he or she needs, give us a call – we can help.


Related Posts:

How the Probate Court Decides Conservatorship Appointments

Applying for Conservatorships in CT

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