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Medically Reviewed

Can You Force Someone To Go To Rehab in North Carolina?

- 5 sections

Medically Verified: 2/1/24

Medical Reviewer:

Sahil Talwar, PA-C, MBA


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

There are few things more painful in life than watching a friend or family member battle with drug or alcohol addiction. In most cases, families of addicts and alcoholics will go to any lengths possible to get their loved ones the help they deserve. As a last resort, many people end up trying to force someone to go to rehab in North Carolina.

Why Force Someone To Go To Rehab?

Addiction is a complex disease that is often accompanied by denial. As a result, people who struggle with addiction may fail to realize the severity of their substance abuse. They may become defensive and angry when confronted about it and adamantly refuse to go to rehab.

Cases like these are just one example of why someone may try to force a loved one into rehab.

In other cases, a person’s condition may become so dire that they are at risk of hurting themselves. In North Carolina, this could apply to someone who is having a mental health crisis, showing suicidal tendencies, or experienced repeated overdoses.

Any circumstance in which a person is of danger to themselves or others is one that may make families want to force someone into rehab.

Does Forced Rehab Work?

Many people fear that if they force someone to go to rehab in North Carolina, their loved one will get angry, shut-down, and not benefit from treatment. As a result, they wonder if forced rehab really works or if it is even worth the effort.

The truth is there is limited research on the efficacy of involuntary rehab. Still, very few people are truly eager to go to rehab.

Instead, most people choose to go to rehab when they have no other options left. A person struggling with addiction will be safer at a treatment facility than they will be on the streets – and one night at a treatment facility may give them the glimmer of hope they need to want recovery.

Can You Force Someone Into Rehab in North Carolina?

While states like Florida have the Marchman Act and Ohio and Kentucky have Casey’s Law, North Carolina has its own legal process in which family members can force their loved ones into rehab. This process is called involuntary commitment.[1]

North Carolina’s involuntary commitment law hasn’t been updated in decades, and advocates say this leaves certain details unclear. While healthcare advocates believe the provision needs to be updated to provide the best care possible, it is actually quite simple to force someone to go to rehab in North Carolina if he or she meets the right criteria.

The Process of Involuntary Commitment in North Carolina

Involuntary commitment laws vary from one state to the next. Some require family members or multiple friends with first-hand knowledge of substance abuse and proof of danger/harm in order to mandate someone to rehab.

In North Carolina, on the other hand, anyone who has first-hand knowledge of an individual’s substance use disorder or altered state of mind can file a petition with the court for involuntary commitment.

If the judge or magistrate finds that the information provided on the petition meets the criteria for commitment, they will file a custody order. The individual will then be transported to a medical facility for an evaluation.

After a thorough assessment of the individual, the clinical team at the medical facility will recommend a treatment plan for the patient. Treatment may involve:[1][2]

  • Involuntary commitment to an day treatment facility
  • Involuntary commitment to an outpatient rehab facility
  • Optional commitment to a rehab facility
  • Termination of the petition

If the patient is committed to a rehab facility, a community crisis center is required to provide transportation for that individual to the appropriate hospital or treatment setting. They are also mandated to use de-escalation strategies and to avoid using physical constraints unless absolutely necessary.

Once at the second facility, the clinical team is required to provide another assessment while holding the patient for 24 hours. If, after the 24 hour period, the team determines the person still needs treatment, the patient will be required to follow through with the original treatment plan suggested.

Finally, a court hearing is held within 10 days after involuntary commitment to re-evaluate the patient and their court order. After the court order expires, the patient can be discharged from the facility.

Find a North Carolina Addiction Treatment Center Today

If your friend or family member is struggling with addiction and needs help, please call one of our dedicated treatment specialists today. Our admissions counselors can help you host an intervention, file a court petition, and locate a rehab facility so you can get your loved ones the help they deserve.

Don’t wait any longer. Call now for help.