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Who should make the decision to get my loved one help?

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Hello, everyone! It’s Mark, and welcome back to our Q and A series.

In this video, I want to talk to you about the three entities that can decide to save somebody who has substance use and or mental illness.

Those three entities are; you, the family and the person who has substance use or mental health disorder, and the state. As far as you or the family are making the decision, we use several tools. We can give you access to clinicians and interventionists, but we have a wonderful tool here in Florida called the Marchman Act when it comes to going to court. The Marchman Act is for primary substance use. We also have the Guardianship statute, which allows you to take significant control over somebody, not just to get them into treatment, but to take care of their finances, where they reside, and their ability to travel. It also gives you access to their medical records. It is a very broad-spectrum form of relief. So, you can decide to get your love into treatment, or perhaps they’ll make it. People calling us, families calling us, typically have been unable to get their loved one to go into treatment, or if they have, the individual has never stayed long enough to experience recovery.
In my experience, someone who has a long-standing substance use or mental health disorder is just not capable of making that decision because of the drugs, alcohol, the mental illness. That’s what’s running the show. Expecting your loved one to make that decision is just not going to happen. I know there are stories of people who get sober on their own. I have never met any of those people. The people I know are in recovery, and have experienced healing; they didn’t do it alone. They did it with a team of people, and they continued to do it with a major support system.

The third entity is the state. The state will make the decision to get your loved one into treatment. They might incarcerate them. We have criminal laws here in the state of Florida which authorize the police to make arrests, authorize judges to sentence people, authorize the state attorneys to prosecute people so that your loved one could end up in the state jail, the prison system. Also, they can end up in the state mental health system, which is not a place they want to be any more than they want to be in jail. Here in Florida, we have the Baker Act. I’ve talked about the Baker Act, a useful tool used correctly. When not used correctly, or when a family doesn’t bother to take action, it can get somebody stuck in a mental health facility.

Again, there are three entities. You can make the decision, your loved one can make the decision, or the state will make the decision for you. It’s up to you to decide which one of those entities you want to decide for your loved one.

With that said, thanks for tuning in. Until the next video.

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