Involuntary Commitment is used when a person with a severe drug or alcohol problem will not agree to go to treatment on his or her own.
A person may be committed if he or she is alcoholic or addicted, and at least one of the following reasons exists:
- The person is in danger of serious harm. The person is gravely disabled by alcohol or drug addiction.
- The person has threatened to harm another person or has harmed another person.
- The person may harm another person unless they are committed.
Involuntary commitment can be a difficult process. It may take time to get the person into treatment. The court will decide if treatment is ordered or not, and if the person has to go to treatment even if they do not want to do so. The facts and information given to the court must prove that the person is in need of commitment.
The process for involuntary commitment next begins when someone refers a person who is alcoholic or addicted. Referrals are looked into by Chemical Dependency Specialists. Their evaluation of the facts and information will determine whether a case to commit the person is possible.
If a case is possible, the Chemical Dependency Specialist will take a statement from the person who referred the alcoholic or addicted person. Next is an outreach to this person who is alcoholic or addicted. This allows the Chemical Dependency Specialist to see the individual in his or her own area, and allows the Chemical Dependency Specialist to get more information.
At this time, the Chemical Dependency Specialist can give the person a chance to go to treatment on his or her own, and can help the person to enter treatment.
If the case goes to a court hearing, the court will look at all the information and the statements of witnesses and the person who is alcoholic or addicted. If there is enough proof for commitment, the court may order commitment for up to 60 days in treatment.
The Chemical Dependency Involuntary Treatment Services office is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Call (206) 296-7612 for referrals or questions.
For help after 5:00 p.m. or on weekends, call the Alcohol/Drug 24-Hour Help Line at (206) 722-3700.