In the United States, people are now able to send a loved one to rehab, even if completing rehab treatment is against their will. This is due to a law that allows people to petition for forced rehab if the person is a proven danger to a community.

However, forced rehab is a source of controversy due to the forced nature of treatment and is not something that is permitted in the UK. However, there are many people who have recently been wondering, if this approach would work in the United Kingdom; and, more importantly, does this idea work in the United States where forced rehab programmes exist.

Find out more about forced rehab and whether it is a good idea to force someone into rehab below.


How Forced Rehab Works

The process of watching a friend or family member suffer from drug abuse or alcoholism and the mental health complications that often occur in people with addiction can be a truly painful experience.

When you find yourself in this uncomfortable position, it is only natural that you will try and find any way to get your loved one the help they deserve. However, involuntary rehab can result in a host of complications and difficult decisions.

Forced rehab is something that is offered in Malaysia and certain US states, and is known as involuntary commitment, in 37 states in the USA. An ‘Emergency Drug Treatment’ would need to legally go past a judge who would have the final say on the emergency treatment. However, in some states, a judge’s order could be avoided if the police and family can prove to the treatment facility that the person in question is indeed a danger to themselves and their immediate environment.

In recent years, there have been many involuntary drug treatments in the US, particularly in Massachusetts, compared to a few decades ago and works by forcing someone into rehab even if they do not want to go.

Forced rehab is not something that is provided in the UK, and private rehab centres such as ours require people to agree to treatment.


Does Forced Rehab Work?

The question as to whether forced rehab treatment will work is complex, and you may be wondering can someone be forced into rehab. A lot of residential rehab centres and medical experts believe that to completely recover from drug addiction or alcohol addiction, the addict must first admit that they have a problem and that they need help to overcome it.

In forced rehab cases, the addict will likely be aggressive and upset about being forced into rehab. They may be in denial about the extent of their abuse and therefore will be unable to truly start the healing process and achieve long-term recovery if they are not ready for sobriety.

Although receiving initial detoxification treatment for physical addiction is a good thing short term for health and starting the recovery journey, forced rehab often does not lead to long-term sobriety. This is because the addict will not be curing the root psychological cause of their addiction if they do not wish to be treated themselves or are in denial.

A study in compulsory forced rehab centres in Malaysia found that people who attend forced rehab centres are significantly more likely to relapse to opioid use after release than those who have been treated differently.


Can You Force Someone into Rehab in the UK?

In the UK, you are not able to force someone to go to rehab unless they have given permission.

At Ocean Recovery Centre, we wholly believe that the first step of rehab is always admitting your issue. Often, involuntarily admitted rehab patients do not admit to themselves they have a problem or are not ready to overcome addiction.

Another problem with forced rehab is that overdoses can occur soon after treatment has ended if the person doesn’t want to recover or is not ready to receive treatment. This is why we advise family members to keep trying to help their loved one see her/his problem before it is too late.

You can call our helpline at any time and ask our staff of addiction specialists for advice on how to get your loved one the help that they need in overcoming their drug or alcohol abuse disorder. Although you cannot force someone to go to rehab, you can help them to recover with the help of professionals.

One of the areas that we can really help is by assisting you in putting together an intervention plan, which will hopefully be the first step to them accepting their issues and coming to terms with the need to start taking part in a recovery plan.

Find out more about how to stage an intervention below.


Family Referrals and How to Stage an Intervention

The first step in the recovery process is coming to terms with the addiction. Accepting that an addiction is present means that the person is aware that they have a dependence which is out of their control. By accepting this, they will be ready to try to overcome it.

A family intervention can help a loved one accept their addiction and is a much less damaging method than forced rehab. At Ocean Recovery we can offer professional advice and expertise during an intervention. They cannot be forced into rehab, but we will try to help them see the benefits of attending a centre.

Once we have helped you show your loved one how to come to terms with their issues, we can then help them by administering our unique blend of psychological and physiological addiction treatments at one of our residential rehabs, and hopefully, get them enjoying a long-lasting life of sobriety before they know it.

Find out more about our family referrals here.


Get in Touch Today for Addiction Help

Are you addicted to drugs or alcohol, or have a family member who you think needs help? Reach out to Ocean Recovery Centre today for advice and support about treatment and we will support you to start the recovery journey. Instead of forced rehab, we offer residential addiction treatment programmes that help people recover from substance abuse.

Call Ocean Recovery Centre today on 0800 880 7596, or get in touch with us using our contact form.

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: October 10, 2023

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.