Isn't It a Shame the Less Well-to-Do Can't Afford to Have Their Relatives Kidnapped By the State Over Their Consumption Choices?


A horrible Ohio law that allows family members to send adults against their will into "substance treatment" gets written up in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, which focuses on the sad, sad plight of those who can't afford to have their relatives kidnapped for "treatment":

An Ohio law that allows families to force a loved one into addiction treatment has been used only once since it went into effect in March.

Though the law is new, it has created debate about whether involuntary treatment will work and if the law is unfair because it is only available to families who can afford to foot the bill….

The law roughly mirrors a similar measure passed in Kentucky eight years ago after 23-year-oldMatthew "Casey" Wethington died of a heroin overdose…..Ohio's law differs from the one passed in Kentucky. Ohio's law requires family members to sign an up-front agreement that they will pay the total bill for treatment and give the court a deposit for half of the amount.

…the conversation often ends once the costs, often thousands of dollars, are explained….

Oh, the costs of having a "loved one" kidnapped! They can be onerous. But might there be any…other issues worth thinking about with this law?

Another debate is giving a court the authority to force a person to get treatment they may not want, which could be challenged as a civil rights violation.  

Sounds like that debate was already settled in Ohio and Kentucky: it's cool!

In Ohio, a probate judge or magistrate is supposed to decide whether a person is a danger, with the opinion of a doctor or treatment professional, when possible.

But the Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities chose not to support the law because of concerns about how those decisions would be made and whether they impinged upon civil liberties.

Denihan, whose agency is required to provide the probate court with a list of local agencies that have agreed to treat people committed by the court, said the law also runs counter to a central tenet of addiction recovery—that it be voluntary.

"Locking up and forcing people to be treated is challenging," he said, noting that most treatment facilities are not secure. "They have to want to be there."

Language from the law itself:

Requires the probate court, upon receipt of a petition and the payment of the appropriate filing fee, if any, to examine the petitioner under oath as to the contents of the petition and requires the court to take certain specified actions if, after reviewing the allegations contained in the petition and examining the petitioner under oath, it appears to the probate court that there is probable cause to believe the respondent may reasonably benefit from treatment, including scheduling and conducting a hearing to determine if there is clear and convincing evidence that the respondent may reasonably benefit from treatment for alcohol and other drug abuse.

Provides that if the probate court finds by clear and convincing evidence upon completion of the hearing that the respondent may reasonably benefit from treatment, the court may order the treatment after considering the qualified health professional's recommendations for treatment that have been submitted to the court. Requires the court, if it orders the treatment, to order the treatment be provided through a certified alcohol and drug addiction program or by certain licensed individuals.

That's right–a "certified alcohol and drug addiction program or…licensed individuals." Only they are qualified to be the keepers against-their-will of an adult whose choices have bedeviled their families, so there's really nothing to be worried about. As Thomas Szasz once wrote, and I paraphrase, the so-called problems of those the state wants to lock up for psychiatric issues are sometimes only a problem to other people–they are often a solution to the person making the choices others disapprove of.

NEXT: Tim Cavanaugh on How Rail Screws the Poor

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  1. can we put together a kickstarter and have a state legislator kidnapped and treated for bath salt addicition?

    1. Isn’t egotism a dangerous enough condition?

      1. They say they don’t have a legislation problem, but each day they’re passing more laws. Next thing you know, they’ll suck dick just to get a rider on a budget authorization law.

  2. How does the law define a family member?

  3. Being related to and associated with a long line of alcoholics, I can state with a fair degree of confidence that you cannot force someone into substance abuse treatment. It just doesn’t fucking work. I’ve known people that will cheerfully take their Antabuse in front of a counselor only to go puke it up roadside after they leave. I have also heard, anecdotally, that getting drugs in rehab is not too terribly difficult.

    They have to want to change. Absent that, it’s a waste of everybody’s time.

  4. Dammit, Kentucky…

    The Process of Casey’s Law

    Step One: Download a copy of the petition. CLICK HERE

    Step Two: This petition is filed with the circuit clerk (clerk issuing drivers’/operators’ licenses) by a spouse, relative, friend, or guardian of the substance abuse impaired person. CLICK HERE for a list of circuit clerks for each Kentucky county.

    Step Three: The court reviews the allegations in the petition and examines the petitioner under oath.

    Step Four: The court determines whether there is probable cause to order treatment for the respondent (the person named in the petition).

    Step Five: If probable cause is established, the court orders the respondent to be evaluated, and a hearing is set within fourteen (14) days.

    Step Six: The respondent is notified of the date and purpose of the hearing.

    Step Seven: The respondent is evaluated by two (2) qualified health professionals, at least one (1) of whom is a physician.

    Step Eight: If the court finds the respondent should undergo treatment, the court shall order treatment from sixty (60) days or up to three hundred sixty (360) days, dependent upon the request in the petition and the result of the hearing.

    Step Nine: The petitioner of Casey’s Law is responsible for finding the treatment facility and how much to pay, if payment is needed at all. Some facilities are no cost.

  5. I really hate everyone in my state most of the time.

    1. If you lived in California, like me, you would hate everyone in your state ALL of the time.

      So consider yourself lucky.

  6. “Locking up and forcing people to be treated is challenging,” he said, noting that most treatment facilities are not secure. “They have to want to be there.”

    They have to want to be in the situation you forced them into? Is that ‘the challenge’?

  7. How the hell can you possibly be treated for substance abuse if you don’t want help? I thought it was common knowledge and common sense you can’t “help” someone addicted to something they don’t want to quit? Not to mention I’m sure busy-body parents will send their kids to get treated for weed “Addiction”. How the hell with that work? Get treated for being “Addicted” to a non-addictive substance? Oh, I am totally ignoring the fact that this is all completely unconsitutional because there is NO due process, no right to face a jury of your peers, etc, etc…but beside that part…

    1. It’s not about helping the person. It’s a way to send them to jail without convicting them of a crime combined with the magical thinking that “drugs have a grip on him, if we just loosen it for a moment, Jimmy Bob can get free.”

      We have made drug addiction into demonic possession and rehab the chicken blood and chanting of an exorcism. Abjuration of personal responsibly meets cult of victimhood DARE-washing.

      1. DARE-washing is awesome. I mean, as a term. Nice one.

    2. A lot of people only hit rock bottom when they’re scaling the fence of their addiction treatment facilty and their underwear get caught on the top of the fence.

      A wedgie from 8 feet in the air really makes you reflect on your life choices.

  8. Heathcote-Drury got her world turned upside down over the last few months, and the liberalism of her own self-defeating British culture is what did her in. One has to feel for her, if only a little bit, but her case most certainly shines a spotlight on the failings of progressivism.
    So, imagine the scene. A British, feminist journalist sees a woman in a hijab loading a large number of groceries onto the store conveyor belt at check out. She begins fuming with feminist ire because this Muslim woman’s husband stands idly by doing nothing to help the overworked woman load the groceries.
    The journo can take it no more and just has to say something. She brusquely confronts the man telling him that his wife needs help loading the merchandise. She pushes past the man and starts helping the hijab-clad woman herself because, “This is what feminism’s about – women helping women.”
    As it happened, neither the Muslim man nor his wife much appreciated the “social lesson” the journalist thought to teach them. And, as so many Muslims in Britain do, they proceeded to play the Brit’s liberalism against them. The couple cried racism and had the journalist arrested for a “hate crime.”…..gainst-Her

    1. I think I may keel over from this particular dose of schadenfreude.

    2. So. Fucking. Tasty.

    3. Heathcote-Drury

      What is she, a candy manufacturer?

    4. Her first name is “Cinnamon.” The muslim chick was right to kick her for that alone.

    5. In the end, this journalist was lucky. Her court system returned a not guilty verdict for her.

      I was hoping for a happy ending. Like poor Cinnamon getting lesbian-raped in prison.

    6. Oh, that’s just delicious.

  9. Someone pointed out the other day that having unwilling people in rehab is very distracting for those who are there voluntarily. And presumably someone is paying for the tuition of the willing – so are they getting their money’s worth when someone who doesn’t want to be there disrupts the whole group?

    1. This fits in well with the earlier unwilling draft discussion. Same problem – they don’t want it.

    2. It is difficult to grasp the scope of the folly here. Addiction “treatment” and “rehab” are all but useless for people who do it voluntarily!

  10. I’ve seen some really bad situations made worse by shipping people against their will to fanatics. And most people who run rehab programs are fanatics. They smaller the program, the more fanatical.

    I had a friend who got die-hard about this, and started an inpatient rehab for the low-bottom. It was a non-profit and I got roped into being on his Board of Directors. I lasted six weeks, watching this guy’s idea go to shit and making 2 addicts’ lives not better while tornadoing through several others. I’m pretty sure I sent one horrified email a week saying, “you can’t do this, and as a Board member, I object and did not authorize this.” I was thoroughly horrified. I’m pretty sure my resignation letter a) begged him to stop b) expressed serious concern for the welfare of the patients and c) stated that it would not be a good idea to contact me as a defense witness in any lawsuits.

    1. This sounds like a fun story. Details?

      1. Imagine a drug addict who doesn’t use drugs anymore but has all of the same sketchy behaviors who believes he is inspired to help people. (Except for the out-and-out lying. He just didn’t feel the need to share any details that didn’t make his plan look like the best one.)

        In addition, the rehab owner wouldn’t do things like establish bylaws and other governing documents. Nor did he think it necessary to have any sort of legal insurance. So yeah, a raging tornado of good intentions and not a lick of introspection or sense. Oh, and he didn’t want any input from his board, just a rubber stamp. It led to a series of increasingly intense confrontations (I think I was only on it long enough to attend 2 meetings.) that culminated with a long letter of resignation intended to cover my ass by making clear that he was acting well beyond the authority the board had granted him, and not at all in the vein of what we had approved and agreed upon. By that time, I just wanted to get the fuck out and have some cover for what I was sure would be the inevitable lawsuit. (I believe he went under before getting sued, but I could be wrong.)

        It blew up all over the place and I haven’t seen the guy since, but he couldn’t keep his non-profit status as he didn’t have a board. I had only been in town a couple of years, and basically found a whole new set of friends after that.

  11. For an extra dose of horrifying, imagine what happens when the people in this story meet up with these people:

  12. As someone who was forciby sent to treatment programs as a minor (which, to the best of my knowledge, has always been legal) I can say without a doubt that trying to force somone to change their habits against their will (a. Doesn’t work, and
    (b. Will teach them alot about lying and manipulating authorities.

  13. How is this law even constitutional?
    Doesn’t it rather boldly violate due process? You can’t be locked up unless you have commited a crime, no?

    If involuntary commitment to an insane asylum is severely restricted, surely involuntary confinement to a rehab center is more so.

    Are there any pending court challanges to this law?

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