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Understanding The Florida Marchman Act

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Getting someone help for substance abuse or drug addiction can be confusing and anxiety provoking for some, especially when you don’t know where to begin. That is why Florida put together an act that can help save lives of those suffering from drug addiction and alcoholism. The Florida Marchman Act (Florida’s Substance Abuse Impairment Act) is basically a petition, signed by a judge, that may be filed when there is good reason to believe an individual has lost control over their substance use and is a harm to themselves or others based on drug addiction, or alcoholism. The substance abuser can undergo evaluation on a voluntary basis, however, most cases are involuntary.

Filing A Marchman Act

The Florida Marchman Act process is relatively simple; first the Petition is filed with the Clerk of Circuit Court during business hours. It’s best to locate an addiction treatment center at this time; if the court feels the immediate need to issue treatment at a drug rehab, you will want to make sure your loved one is going to get the best care for their addiction. Notice of the hearing is usually hand-delivered. This all usually happens within a 2 week period. Unless arrangements have been made for assessment at a private drug rehab, the court may order to have the substance abuser taken into custody involuntary for an assessment at a county operated public facility that is licensed by the Department of Children and Families. This is why it’s important to have all your affairs in order when filing a Florida Marchman Act.

After this time the addiction treatment facility will assess and stabilize the patient; this does not exceed 5 days. A written assessment is submitted to the court by the drug rehab. Once the written assessment is received by the Judge, the court may proceed with the Petition for Involuntary addiction treatment if needed. 

Involuntary Addiction Treatment

A Petition for involuntary addiction treatment may be filed once the written assessment is reviewed and approved by the court. The court may enter an order for involuntary treatment for usually no more than 2 months, or 60 days.  During this time, the substance abuser has the opportunity get the help they deserve and could potentially save their life. Many times family members won’t file for a Florida Marchman Act because they fear that they are hurting their loved one. Watching someone you love slowly die from addiction is far worse than involuntarily checking them into a drug rehab.

For more information on addiction treatment and the Florida Marchman act, please call our free 24 hour helpline now 1-800-861-1768. It’s the difference between life and death.




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