marchman act vs baker act

Marchman Act vs. Baker Act

As a friend or family member, when a loved one is struggling with addiction or alcoholism, you want to do everything you can to help him get better and turn his life around. But despite multiple conversations, interventions, ultimatums, and attempts to commit to positive change, an individual will often continue to refuse to seek treatment – even though everyone else can see the situation is dire and desperate.

That’s why, in some states, laws such as The Marchman Act and the Baker Act exist to involuntarily commit an individual to seek help. The Marchman Act and the Baker Act may be legal avenues for you to force your loved one into substance abuse or mental health treatment and get on the road to recovery. Let’s take a closer look at these statutes and how they work.

Marchman Act vs Baker Act

The Marchman Act and Baker Act have similar outcomes – placing an individual in court-mandated treatment – but different requirements and situational applications.

Florida’s Marchman Act, first enacted in 1993, allows for the examination and involuntary or emergency commitment of an individual for substance abuse. This step can be taken when an individual no longer has control over their addiction, becoming a danger to themselves and others. It can help lead to involuntary assessment, stabilization, and treatment for those who are deemed unable to make the decision for themselves. There is a burden of proof that falls on the person filing this act, and he/she must demonstrate that the individual

1) Has lost the power of self-control in regards to their substance abuse
2) Has refused to seek voluntary care. 

The Florida Mental Health Act of 1971, also known as the Florida Baker Act, is similar to the Marchman Act, but focused on mental health concerns. This can be initiated by law enforcement, court judges, physicians, or mental health professionals, and there must be substantial evidence that the person in question has a mental disorder, intent to harm oneself or others, or be self-neglectful. During a crisis situation (i.e. threats of suicide or self-harm), a third party can submit an affidavit to get an individual “Baker-Acted” through the circuit court.

The Marchman Act and Baker Act can both be life-saving avenues for families who feel they are at the end of their rope and out of viable options. Oftentimes, individuals can feel so helpless in the throes of drug or alcohol addiction that they become suicidal. Every situation is case-by-case, but these acts can be effective at saving lives and helping someone in dire need of treatment to kickstart the recovery process.

Which States Have the Marchman and the Baker Act?

While the Marchman and Baker Act are specific to Florida, the majority of states – including the following – have laws for involuntary commitment on some level.

  • Alaska
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Nebraska
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin

How Do I File a Marchman Act?

The Marchman Act is specific to Florida. The statute states: “Substance abuse is a major health problem with profoundly disturbing consequences such as serious impairment, chronic addiction, criminal behavior, vehicular casualties, spiraling health care costs, AIDS, and business losses. A disease which affects the whole family and the whole society requires specialized prevention, intervention, and treatment services that support and strengthen the family unit.”

In most counties, the required paperwork can be filed at the courthouse for that county. That paperwork, in addition to any sworn testimony, usually involves the county clerk’s office. There is usually a specific department for mental health, probate, or similar services.

The following parties can petition the court for a Marchman Act:

  • Spouse
  • Blood relative (mother, father, sibling, etc.)
  • Any three people who have direct knowledge of the individual’s substance abuse (The law permits this because, in certain cases, family members may not be involved in the individual in question’s life).

The process for filing is as follows:

  1. A sworn affidavit is signed at the local county courthouse or clerk’s office.
  2. A hearing is set before the court after a Petition for Involuntary Assessment and Stabilization is filed.
  3. Following the hearing, the individual is held for up to five days for medical stabilization and assessment.
  4. A Petition for Treatment must be filed with the court and a second hearing is held for the court to review the assessment.
  5. Based on the assessment and the recommendation that the individual needs extended help, the judge can then order a 60-day treatment period with a possible 90-day extension, if necessary.
  6. If the addict exits treatment in violation of the judge’s order, the addict must return to court and answer to the court as to why they did not comply with treatment. Then the individual is returned immediately for involuntary care.
  7. If the addict refuses, they are held in civil contempt of court for not following treatment order and are ordered to either return to treatment or be incarcerated.

More often than not, this process doesn’t play out fully. Sometimes, families seeking help for a loved one find that the simple threat or initial filing of the Marchman Act will push a reluctant addict to agree to seek treatment in order to avoid costly legal proceedings and/or personal inconveniences.

How Do I File a Baker Act?

The Florida Mental Health Act of 1971 (The Baker Act) reads, “Mental illness means an impairment of the mental or emotional processes that exercise conscious control of one’s actions or of the ability to perceive or understand reality, which impairment substantially interferes with a person’s ability to meet the ordinary demands of living, regardless of etiology. For the purposes of this part, the term does not include a developmental disability as defined in Chapter 393, intoxication, or conditions manifested only by antisocial behavior or substance abuse impairment.”

The process to file a Baker Act is as follows:

  1. The individual is committed by means of a law enforcement officer, a physician, or a sworn affidavit from another individual.
  2. A law enforcement officer takes the person into custody and transports them to a receiving mental health facility.
  3. The individual is examined and placed on a psychiatric hold for no more than 72 hours.
  4. The patient is given a mental health evaluation and further treatment is recommended based on the results.

What Happens to Someone Who is Baker Acted?

The affected individual goes to a receiving center, which is a mental health facility or a hospital qualified and equipped to treat Baker Act patients.

Will a Marchman Act or Baker Act Affect My Loved One in the Future?

Friends and family who are forward thinking and considering these actions may be wondering, “Will this involuntary commitment affect my loved one in the future, once he’s in recovery and finally doing better?”

You might be concerned about an individual’s future prospects for employment, renting or buying a home, or something else entirely. But good news: this filing will never be included on an individual’s legal record. The intent of the Marchman and Baker Act is treatment, not punishment. Additionally, because mental health and addiction are medical conditions, the process is strictly confidential and proceedings take place in a closed courtroom, with all treatment and assessment records protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

Get Help Today!

While it may seem extreme, involuntary commitment to psychiatric care has saved countless lives affected by addiction, drugs and alcohol, and continues to serve as a crucial nudge into recovery for those who need it.

If you or a loved one is struggling and seeking treatment options, Creekside Recovery Residences – with sober living housing options in both Atlanta, Marietta, St. Petersburg and Tampa – can assist in providing resources and options, including detox facility recommendations and/or interventionists with years of experience assisting families and individuals. We know what you’re going through and you’re not alone – we are here to help. 

Call us now at 470-460-6688 or fill out the contact form below.

post acute withdrawal symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome

The initial stage of quitting drug and alcohol abuse usually comes with withdrawal symptoms. Most resolve themselves within several days or a few weeks. However, many people experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome symptoms and need proper clinical support to help cope with them. Creekside Recovery Residences offer a safe haven for people to live while working on their recovery. In addition, we provide access to medical and psychological treatment for those who need it. This provides people with an increased ability to stay on the sober path of living despite any withdrawal symptoms that occur.

What Is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome?

When a person goes through the detox process, it takes several days and involves experiencing acute withdrawal symptoms. Many of those symptoms end by the time the individual has finished detoxing or within a few weeks afterward. For many people, some of the symptoms continue for an extended period. When this happens, it’s called post-acute withdrawal syndrome symptoms or PAWS. 

PAWS may produce withdrawal symptoms that are milder in nature than acute ones. However, they can continue for a long time, making it difficult for a person to maintain sobriety. This proves particularly true if they do not realize what they are experiencing. While some PAWS can be physical in nature, a person may be more likely to experience psychological or emotional symptoms. This makes it vital that the individual be prepared for this possibility and have access to proper care for PAWS. 

Common Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome Symptoms

Post-acute withdrawal syndrome symptoms vary in relation to the individual person and their addiction. When someone stops abusing drugs or alcohol, it forces changes in their brain chemistry. How long it takes for the brain to readjust and begin to naturally produce feel-good neurotransmitters isn’t easily predictable. Because of this, a person cannot be sure if PAWS will occur or what symptoms it might produce. 

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty focusing and thinking
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Lethargy
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased appetite
  • Low sex drive
  • Unexplained body aches and pains
  • Cravings for drugs or alcohol

Treatment for Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome Symptoms

When someone develops post-acute withdrawal syndrome symptoms, one main concern is whether it can tip the person over into relapsing. For some people, especially if they are not forewarned, PAWS can cause them to want to return to substance abuse to relieve the symptoms. For this reason, it’s important for people to have available help to get through PAWS, should it occur as part of their recovery process. This treatment can come as part of a residential or outpatient program or during an aftercare plan. 

Someone dealing with PAWS can work to combat it through several avenues. The first is getting educated about it so they understand what is happening and that the process is temporary. Treatment programs often monitor for the condition, but it’s also important for each person to speak up if withdrawal symptoms linger for protracted periods of time. 

Someone with PAWS should make sure they attend their treatment sessions regularly. This includes outpatient treatment, individual therapy sessions, and medical care appointments. Additionally, medications can help people dealing with post-acute withdrawal syndrome symptoms. Many types of FDA-approved drugs can help with both medical and psychological symptoms that come with PAWS.

Just taking care of one’s health can pay off by helping to regulate PAWS. This includes getting regular sleep, eating healthy, and engaging in activities that occupy the mind and keep the person from isolating. Attending support groups or group therapy provides a person with an outlet to discuss their challenges and receive support. 

How Is Addiction to Drugs and Alcohol Treated?

Treatment for addiction to drugs and alcohol begins with going to a detox program. From there, people can transition into residential or outpatient care programs. In both of these cases, the individual should be monitored for post-acute withdrawal syndrome symptoms. These can be addressed through a variety of types of therapy modalities. This includes talk therapy, holistic therapy, and medication management

Someone living in a sober living home can also take advantage of treatment for post-acute withdrawal syndrome symptoms. Sober living homes provide a safe alternative for those who aren’t yet ready to return to their homes. They benefit from being around others who are living a sober life and need the stability that sober living homes provide them. While living in the homes, they have access to multiple types of outpatient care. This includes programs, physicians, and therapists who understand the intricacies of PAWS and how to treat it. 

Find Help for Substance Use Disorders Today

When someone makes the brave decision to stop abusing drugs or alcohol, they may worry about going through withdrawal symptoms. If post-acute withdrawal syndrome symptoms happen, it’s important the person has professional support for dealing with them. Creekside Recovery Residences provides access to treatment that helps people deal with a variety of withdrawal symptoms. Our goal is to help make getting sober a reality for everyone.

If you would like more information, please visit our admissions page today. We can answer your questions and help you get started on a program that will change your life.


Substance Abuse in College Students

The idea of going to college conjures up ideas of study sessions, making new friends, and building a bright future through education. Unfortunately, for many young people, it can also mean dabbling in drugs and alcohol. When this turns into addiction, lives can be sidetracked and educational goals put aside. Substance abuse in college students causes problems for many families, but treatment can help get the person back on track and healthy again.

What Is Substance Abuse?

Substance abuse is classified as a medical illness involving repeatedly consuming substances including drugs and alcohol. The drugs can include prescription or illegal drugs. Substance abuse affects a person’s brain and causes them to become reliant on drugs or alcohol. Addiction creates disruptions in the person’s private, work, school, and social lives. Substance abuse in college students commonly occurs, requiring the person to receive professional treatment in order to overcome it.  

Why Does Substance Abuse in College Students Happen?

The use of drugs such as marijuana, stimulants, and illegal drugs has increased on college campuses over the past decade. In fact, a study that monitored college students from their freshman to junior years found that nearly half of them met the criteria for having at least one substance use disorder.  

Any number of reasons can contribute to a young person developing a substance use disorder in college. For those who leave home to attend school, the freedom of living independently can invite experimentation. They lack the life experience and maturity to understand the downside of using alcohol and drugs, particularly in excessive amounts. 

For many college students, pressure to do well in school factors into the problem. Pressure can come from parents, fellow students, teachers, teammates, and themselves. Abusing substances can alleviate stressful or depressed feelings. Many students use stimulants to provide a boost of energy and a need for less sleep, which they feel helps them succeed in their school work. 

Peer pressure can also contribute to substance abuse in college students. Alcohol, in particular, flows freely on college campuses. Parties and dorms can provide easy access to substances and tremendous pressure to use them. Drug and alcohol usage also happens commonly in fraternities and sororities.

The Risks of Abusing Substances in College

Many young people who abuse substances may argue that they can handle it. However, being under the influence can cause them to miss signs that their lives are spinning out of control. In addition, they may be in denial about needing help. A major risk that comes with substance abuse in college students relates to school performance. Students who engage in regular substance use prove more likely to get lower grades. 

They also tend to miss class more often and spend less time studying. In addition, students struggling with addiction are less likely to graduate or find jobs after leaving school. They also are expelled from school more often than those who do not engage in regular substance use. 

Another risk relates to the person’s health. This can include short-term damage, such as frequent hangovers. As well, it can contribute to a general decline in physical health and long-term damage. Addiction can damage a person’s immune system and organs and puts them at risk of overdosing. Good mental health can also decline when a person becomes addicted. In fact, about half of those who have a substance use disorder also have at least one mental health disorder. 

Common Substances College Students Abuse

Substance abuse in college students can involve alcohol and any number of drugs. This includes prescription, over-the-counter, and illegal narcotics. Commonly abused substances include:

  • Alcohol
  • Cocaine 
  • Methamphetamines
  • Marijuana
  • Pain killers
  • Prescription opioids
  • Inhalants
  • Hallucinogens, including MDMA (ecstasy) and LSD
  • Stimulants

How To Treat Substance Abuse in College Students

A student who reaches the point where they need treatment for substance abuse has options. The first step involves going to detox. This process takes five to ten days on average. From there, the individual may choose a residential or an outpatient program. 

For many students, returning to their homes, including a campus location, may need to be delayed temporarily. For them, a sober living home can make the most sense. Sober living homes are often located in modern, attractive houses in great neighborhoods. Many of these homes are gender-specific and pet-friendly

College students can seek treatment during the day while living at the home. This provides them with the vital addiction care they need while giving them a safe place to live. Sober living homes remove easy access to substances and potentially triggering situations. Each person living there is in recovery, making peer support part of the treatment. When they are in stable recovery, they can transition back to school, ready to accomplish their goals with a sober mind.

Get Help for Addiction in College Students 

Do you have a son or daughter who needs help getting off drugs or alcohol? Creekside Recovery Residences has a program that helps treat substance abuse in college students. We provide safe sober living homes for your child to live in while they work on getting well. Each resident can access outpatient addiction treatment for substance use disorders while living in a safe environment free from temptation.
For more information, visit our admissions page. We can answer any questions you have about how to help college students get sober and graduate.