A bill that would allow for the involuntary assessment and institutionalization of a drug addict in Michigan is scheduled to go before a committee in September when the House resumes.
State Rep. John Walsh (R-Livonia) introduced the House Bill 5689 on May 29, 2012 to help not only drug addicts, but also families and friends of those affected by addiction. The bill is designed to authorize and establish criteria and procedures for a court to order a person to be taken into â€œprotective custodyâ€ for involuntary â€œassessment and stabilization.â€
Under the pending legislation, family members, health professional, or any three people who have personal knowledge of the personâ€™s substance abuse may file a petition with the state if there is an indication that the addicted person either posed a danger to themselves or the public. The petition will be heard by a judge who would then determine whether or not to submit the drug addict for evaluation.
â€œThe way the law is now, parents have nothing they can do if their adult child refuses to get the treatment they need,â€ Walsh said. â€œThis would give them a chance,â€ said Walsh.
In Michigan, any individual over the age of 18 can check himself out of a substance abuse treatment facility whenever he wants. According to a data from the Michigan Department of Community Health, there were more than 14,000 people last year who checked themselves out of substance abuse treatment centers against staff advice.
Walsh believes that although the bill will raise civil liberty concerns, it will give families and friends the opportunity to help their loved ones who are struggling with addiction to go through and complete the necessary treatment. He added that the purpose of the legislation is not to put drug addicts in treatment for an extended period of time, but long enough for them to get detox and professional counseling.