What Are Your Legal Rights When Seeking Drug Treatment in Florida?

There are two ways federal laws and Florida state laws affect your legal rights in terms of participating in a drug treatment program. The biggest concern many addicts have is whether they can legally be forced into an addiction treatment program. While a court can impose involuntary commitment, it can’t do so without support. In order to be involuntarily committed, a doctor must examine you and determine that emergency intervention is necessary.

This is usually done in extreme cases when an addict’s substance abuse habits become life-threatening. In that case, the examining physician submits a statement to the court that recommends involuntary committal for a period of 24 hours up to five days. At the end of the five day period, the individual’s condition is examined a second time to determine whether they need additional treatment. In some cases, the addict chooses to remain and take part in a full 28-day rehab treatment program. In other situations, the involuntary commitment is extended until the individual shows improvement. This takes three months of treatment on average, but it can also last up to a full year. It all depends on how well the individual responds to treatment.

Family members can also have an addict involuntarily committed, but they must meet the criteria established in The Florida Marchman Act. This law requires that family members show the following three elements:

  • The addict has no control over their substance abuse;
  • The addict may cause harm to themselves or others while under the influence and;
  • The addict is unable to make reasonable decisions regarding their medical care.

In either situation, the addict is not passive in the court hearings that are designed to determine the eligibility of involuntary committal. The addict has the right to have an attorney represent them, and they’re permitted to defend against requests for compulsory committal. In some cases, there must also be an underlying mental health condition in addition to the addiction before the court will even consider involuntary committal. For families, it can be easier and less costly to convince an addict to seek treatment voluntarily.

How Do Privacy Laws Affect Your Legal Rights in a Florida Drug Treatment Facility?

Established in 1996, HIPAA or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act sets standards for maintaining the confidentiality of patient records. While this applies to hospitals and the private practices of physicians, it also applies to other care-giving facilities that include drug treatment and rehab centers. This includes ensuring data is secure as it’s sent over a digital network. In all regards, facilities must take reasonable precautions to keep your records private. This set of rules also prevents a rehab facility from sharing your information with your loved ones.

Often, a family member will call to find out how a loved one is doing in rehab, but the staff will decline to reveal any personal information. Instead, family members are told to wait until they can speak with the addict directly. This isn’t done to be difficult, but to ensure the facility is abiding by HIPAA privacy laws. A federal law with the designation of 42 CFR Part 2 refers specifically to an individual’s privacy in a rehab or drug treatment facility. This law protects all information regarding a rehab patient’s participation in a substance abuse program, including their identity, addiction diagnosis, and their progress in a treatment program. Under this law, there are only two instances in which patient information can be shared. First, the recovering addict can give their consent to share their information.

Secondly, information can be shared only when a written request for information is made by a legal authority. The request must be in response to a crime committed on the property of the rehab facility or to an employee or another patient in the facility. The patient information can also be shared if the individual suffers a medical emergency that requires the services of a third-party caregiver. In that case, the rehab facility can share data with the caregivers responding to the emergency. Even in the examples listed here, only the information relevant to the situation may be shared to ensure the patient’s privacy is still protected as much as possible. If you’re interested in learning more about how privacy laws will affect your addiction recovery, call us at 833-846-5669. Our counselors are standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer any questions you may have about treatment. They can also help you get started on your recovery as soon as you’re ready.