In Florida, the Marchman Act is a very effective tool to get the necessary help for those whose loved ones are abusing substances. Unfortunately, it has historically been underutilized by families, mental health professionals and treatment professionals. More recently, however, many families who fear for their loved ones’ safety are turning more and more to the Marchman Act as a means of securing the substance abuser’s admission into treatment. The existence of a court order requiring the individual’s residency in a treatment center is compelling and persuasive evidence to the substance abuser that he or she is at, or quickly approaching, the end of the road of their active abuse of substances. If the court order for treatment is violated, it can result in finding the individual in contempt of court and possibly incarceration. Most times, this will compel compliance with the court order. Occasionally, families fear the resulting anger which may come from the substance abuser as a result of filing a Marchman Act case. In the words of a father, who filed a case notwithstanding that his daughter would be very angry with him, he remarked: “I want to know that if her substance abuse kills her, I did everything possible for her to get her help.”
Joe Considine has practiced law in South Florida since 1983. His practice is limited to family law and addiction related law including the Marchman Act. Joe has handled over 2000 litigation cases in his career, appearing in courts throughout Florida. Joe works extensively with families whose loved ones have substance abuse and mental health problems as an attorney. He lectures throughout Florida on family law matters including the Marchman Act and other substance abuse related issues.
Upon attending, participants will be able to:
1. Articulate the need for legal intervention with individuals suffering from substance use disorders
2. Explain how the Marchman Act can assist families who are trying to help a substance abusing loved one
3. Understand how the Marchman Act serves as a method used by treatment programs
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