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The Marchman Act: Florida’s Law for Involuntary Drug Treatment

The Marchman Act: Florida’s Law for Involuntary Drug Treatment

What is the Marchman Act and how does the legal system define it? The following will address its origins, including its purpose and benefits.

The Marchman Act is also known as the Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act, is a law existing since 1993 in the State of Florida. The Marchman Act intends to help people safely navigate substance abuse issues; particularly if not of sound mind. This legislation provides an individual with necessary medical treatment.

Furthermore, through the Drug Act, the individual in question receives services without personal consent.

The Marchman Act is a Process

Anyone seeking assistance through the Act should be made aware that this is not an immediate resolution. Rather this is a multi-step process.

Firstly, the process is initiated by legally filing a Petition and Request for Assessment and Stabilization and Treatment. Next, after a court reviews the petition a hearing may take place, resulting in a court order. The individual receives the court order to immediately enter a facility. Once there, the individual receives:

  • Assessment
  • Detoxification
  • Stabilization

The individual will accompany law enforcement and arrive at a collaborative facility or one that is nearest to them. The court decides all actions through The Marchman Act. The court receives notice from the treatment providers regarding assessment results and recommendations. Finishing with receipt of involuntary drug treatment results in the successful completion of this process.

Lawyer Monthly magazine online provides further details regarding legal ramifications and drug treatment expectations.


Expectations of timeframes for initiating the Marchman Act are:

  • 3–5 day assessment under special circumstances regarding minors or emergency hospital admission.
  • Non-Court protective custody limits of 72 hours, courts may order involuntary treatment for up to sixty days.

Marchman Act Criteria

The Marchman Act details the specifications that limit its use. It provides details as to which circumstances it applies. For example, if an individual’s public behavior garners the attention of law enforcement, the officer chooses to implement the Marchman Act. Typically, a person’s parent, guardian, spouse, or other relative petitions the court. Having a person receive involuntary treatment for substance is indicative of safety concerns. Further, the individual is likely to harm himself or herself. Moreover, they lack understanding of being a harm to others.

The Act requires three adult persons in agreement when petitioning the court. Involuntary commitment to treatment is a serious step. The case must state that an individual is irrational and a danger. Invoking this Act shows a need for treatment due to harm to self or others.

Additionally, information on law enforcement involvement is available in the Citrus County Chronicle. The Marchman Act is applicable to opioid overdose cases and those including cardiac arrest.

Meeting the criteria, the procedure is as follows:

  1. The signing of a sworn affidavit with the local county courthouse or clerk’s office.
  2. Setting a hearing with the court, filing a Petition for Involuntary Assessment and Stabilization.
  3. Following the hearing, holding the individual for up to five days of medical stabilization and assessment.
  4. Petition for Treatment filings with the court and a second hearing for assessment review.
  5. Determining courses of treatment and recommendations.
  6. Violation of court orders results in immediate involuntary care.
  7. Continuing in acts of non-compliance resulting in civil contempt of court filings, treatment, or incarceration.

Get Help

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, help is available. If you are unsure of your next steps, contact the Harm Reduction Center today. Through therapy and medically appropriate treatments, addiction can be overcome. The Harm Reduction Center offers personalization and individualized recovery plans.