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Can You Force Someone to go to Rehab in South Carolina?

Medically Verified: 2/1/24

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

When you love someone who is suffering from addiction, you know how painful it can be to sit back and do nothing. Friends and family members often find themselves wrapped up in their loved one’s addiction, desperately trying to convince them to get help. Unfortunately, addiction is a disease of denial – and very few people who need treatment are actually willing to get it. This leaves many families feeling powerless and wondering, can you force someone to go to rehab in South Carolina if they refuse to go themselves?

Can You Force Someone to Rehab in South Carolina?

If a person is a minor, his or her parents should have no problem placing their child in a treatment facility. However, after a person turns 18, things get much more complicated. It isn’t easy to convince an adult individual to do something they don’t want to do, especially when drugs and alcohol are involved. Fortunately, South Carolina has provisions in place to help families who find themselves out of options.

Like all states, South Carolina has its own set of laws that allow friends and family members to force their loved ones to go to rehab if they refuse to go on their own. The details of this law are outlined in Title 44, chapter 52.

Understanding Title 44, Chapter 52: Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commitment in South Carolina

There are two primary types of involuntary commitment outlined in South Carolina’s title 44, chapter 52. The first is emergency admission.

People may be applicable for emergency admission to rehab if any adult person completes a written affidavit with the courts stating, under oath, that:

  1. He or she believes a person is struggling with addiction and, as a result of their condition, poses a substantial risk of physical harm to themselves or others if they are not immediately provided with emergency treatment.
  2. The harm is thought to be probable and there is a basis for factual belief behind it
  3. He or she believes the person is incapable of making sound decisions regarding the care needed

This affidavit must be submitted with a certificate signed by a licensed physician who has examined the patient and found the patient to be chemically dependent and in need of care. If granted by the courts, a law enforcement officer will be appointed to escort the individual to a treatment facility for further evaluation. A secondary evaluation must occur within 24 hours of being transported to the facility. If treatment is recommended after the evaluation, two licensed physicians must examine the patient and submit a report to the court.

The second type of involuntary commitment follows a similar procedure as an emergency admission, however, the patient is not in a crisis situation. An adult person with knowledge of a person’s chemical dependency may file a petition with the court at any time. The court may order an evaluation of the individual. If the individual is unwilling to submit to the evaluation, they may be escorted to a treatment facility by a professional where an evaluation must take place within 24 hours. Again, if treatment is recommended after the evaluation, two licensed physicians must examine the patient and submit a report to the court.

In both circumstances, the person for whom involuntary commitment is sought has the right to an attorney and will be appointed with counsel if he or she does not have an attorney. The individual also has a right to a hearing no later than 20 days after the date of filing the petition.

Lastly, court-ordered rehab in South Carolina may not exceed a period of 90 days of inpatient care or one year of outpatient care.

When Is it Appropriate to Force Someone To Go To Rehab?

Addiction is a progressive and deadly disease. In 2019 alone, more than 70,000 Americans died from an opioid-related overdose. Moreover, excessive alcohol abuse is responsible for more than 95,000 deaths each year. These numbers don’t even include the number of lives lost as a result of other illicit and prescription drugs of abuse, yet they are still approaching 170,000 lives lost to addition each and every year.

While you may not think it can happen to your loved one, anyone who is abusing drugs and alcohol can face severe, and even deadly, consequences. If your loved one is refusing to get help, making the attempt to force them to go to rehab in South Carolina may help save their life. Individuals who refuse treatment, are likely to harm themselves or another person, or who cannot make a sound judgment regarding their own care are great candidates for involuntary commitment.

Find Addiction Treatment in South Carolina For a Loved One Today

Here at South Carolina Addiction Treatment, our skilled and experienced medical and therapeutic staff are trained to provide care and support for sufferers of substance use disorders as well as their families. Whether treatment is voluntary or not, we recognize that treatment is most effective when the family is involved. That’s why we’re here to help you, your family, and your addicted loved one find the help you need. Don’t wait any longer. Contact us today to see how we can help your situation.