The Marchman Act may be one of the most helpful ways of saving a loved one’s life in this era of chemical and alcoholic addictions. Addiction is a plague that has been affecting millions of lives for decades. It has only increased, with the opioid epidemic. The hold these substances have on individuals is nothing short of nightmarish. When it gets to be a life or death situation, there is a way they can be helped, even when they refuse help.

The Marchman Act of 1993

This act is a Florida law that is used in much the same way as the Baker Act, only it addresses chemical addiction instead of mental illness. Under the Marchman Act, family and friends can petition the court for commitment of an individual to mandatory drug or alcohol treatment.

This law is in place to help those whose addiction is severe enough to put them or others in danger. If the individual has lost good judgment and may be a threat to their own wellbeing or that of others, he or she may be incapable of getting needed help. If the person is over the age of 18, no one can make them get help unless the Marchman Act is implemented.

With the Marchman Act, anyone who is severely addicted and making life-threatening choices can be helped if a loved one or friend petitions the court for mandatory treatment. The law requires certain criteria to be met in order for someone to be helped in this way. These measures are in place so individuals are not thrown into treatment against their will arbitrarily.

Who Can Petition the Court?

Only certain people are allowed to petition the court on behalf of an addict. The spouse of the addicted person can petition or it can be another relative. If an addicted person is not married and has no relatives but is in need of this type of intervention, a group of 3 people can file for the petition.

The person/s who file must be able to show the individual has a substance abuse problem severe enough it is a direct threat to the individual’s life or the life of someone else. The person/s who file will need to complete a court-approved package with detailed information.

The decision to use the Marchman Act is not made lightly, nor is it implemented easily; however, when a loved one’s life is on the line or when other lives are in jeopardy because of the behaviors of a loved one, extreme measures may be called for. Some addictions can so overpower a person’s ability to make rational decisions the situation literally becomes deadly. In these situations, the Marchman Act can save lives.

At Frohlich, Gordon & Beason, P.A., our lawyers are very familiar with the devastation that befalls families in cases of personal injury and wrongful death. If you have such a situation, please contact us through one of our offices located in Port Charlotte, Englewood or North Port. We are the lawyers who care. We provide client-centered legal services to help you get full and fair compensation for your losses.