Drug addiction, also known as substance use disorder, is a condition that can be treated. However, some individuals are resistant to seeking help, leaving their loved ones feeling hopeless. Fortunately, there are options available to assist them in getting the treatment they need. In Ohio, one such option is called Casey’s Law.
Understanding Casey’s Law
Casey’s Law, also referred to as the Matthew Casey Wethington Act for Substance Abuse Intervention, is a powerful tool that allows you to petition the court to order your loved one to attend an addiction treatment program. However, before the court grants your petition, your loved one must meet three specific criteria:
- They must have a substance use disorder.
- Their drug abuse poses a danger to themselves, their family, or others, or there is a substantial possibility that it will in the near future.
- They can reasonably benefit from an addiction treatment program.
The law is named after Matthew Casey Wethington, a young man who tragically lost his life to a heroin overdose in 2002 after refusing addiction treatment. It was first enacted in Kentucky in 2004 and later in Ohio in 2012. Although it saw limited use in Ohio until 2021, an update simplified the process significantly.
The Process of Using Casey’s Law
If you believe your loved one meets the criteria outlined by Casey’s Law, the first step is to contact your county probate court to inquire about filing a petition. Depending on the county, you may be provided with the necessary paperwork to file the petition yourself, or you may be referred to a lawyer who can assist you.
Once the petition is filed, the court will schedule a hearing to evaluate the evidence supporting your loved one’s need for addiction treatment. It’s essential to note that both you and your loved one have the option of having legal representation present at the hearing. If your loved one is unable to afford a lawyer, the court can appoint one for them.
If the judge determines that your loved one meets the criteria for Casey’s Law, they will be ordered to attend an addiction treatment program. As the petitioner, you will be responsible for covering all court fees, lawyer fees, and the cost of your loved one’s treatment. It’s worth exploring whether your loved one’s health insurance or Medicaid can contribute to the cost, although this may vary depending on the county. To learn more about payment options for court-ordered treatment under Casey’s Law, reach out to your county probate court.
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Casey’s Law
Casey’s Law offers several advantages that can potentially save your loved one’s life and help them on the path to recovery. For individuals who would not seek treatment voluntarily, court-ordered treatment can be life-changing. Furthermore, unlike other forms of court-ordered addiction treatment, Casey’s Law does not carry the risk of criminal charges. If your loved one fails to comply with treatment, they may face contempt charges and arrest, but they will not be charged with a crime. This absence of a criminal record makes it easier for them to find employment and secure housing as they progress on their recovery journey.
Nevertheless, it’s important to acknowledge that involuntary treatment is not always the most effective approach for long-term recovery. Some individuals may only fully commit to treatment when they actively seek it themselves. In other words, while Casey’s Law can initiate the journey to rehab, additional steps may be necessary to support long-term sobriety. One such step could be staging an intervention.
The Power of Intervention
An intervention is a planned discussion involving the person’s family members and friends. In some cases, interventionists or mental health counselors may also be present. During the intervention, participants address the individual’s addiction, highlighting specific problems caused by their substance abuse. They also present a prearranged, long-term recovery plan and explain the consequences the person will face if they choose not to follow it. These consequences, such as financial support withdrawal or requiring the individual to move out, can serve as motivation for them to commit to treatment fully.
If you or someone you care about is struggling with addiction, please reach out to Ohio Recovery Center. Our inpatient treatment facilities offer medical detox, mental health counseling, and evidence-based services that can help individuals achieve a drug-free life. Let us support you on your journey to recovery.