The Matthew Casey Wethington Act for Substance Abuse Intervention became a law on April 9, 2004. Only July 13, 2004, the law became effective in the state of Kentucky. This law was inspired by the death of Matthew Casey Wethington, who died of a heroin overdose at the age of 23.
What Kind of Law Is It?
This is a law for involuntary treatment.
Does Involuntary Treatment Work?
Studies show that involuntary treatment can be just as successful as voluntary treatment. Most individuals who are substance abuse impaired receive court-ordered treatment only after they have become arrested for a crime while under the influence of a substance. Drugs and crime often go hand in hand because people who are substance abuse impaired are forced by their disease to resort to any means necessary to procure their drug. Court-ordered treatment can be effective regardless of who initiates it.
Do the People with Substance Use Disorders Have to Want Help?
Denial and distorted thinking impedes their ability to make a rational decision. The “bottom” for many is death. Addiction is a progressive, life-threatening disease. The best hope of survival for a person who is substance abuse impaired is intervention.
Why Not Wait for Court Intervention?
Not all people who are substance abuse impaired are arrested or, in the event that they are, may not receive the necessary treatment.
What Does This Law Provide?
This act provides a means of intervening with someone who is unable to recognize his or her need for treatment due to their impairment. This law will allow parents, relatives, and/or friends to petition the court for treatment on behalf of the person who is substance abuse impaired.
What Is the Length of Treatment That Can Be Ordered?
Treatment options can vary depending on the circumstances of each individual case and can range from detoxification to intensive treatment through recovery.
What Happens If the Respondent Fails to Comply at Anytime During the Process?
Failure to comply may place the respondent in contempt of court.
Who Pays for the Treatment?
As the law is currently written, the petitioner is obligated to pay all costs incurred in the process as well as for treatment and must sign a guarantee for payment. You as the petitioner are responsible for finding the treatment facility. You choose how much to pay, if you pay at all. The good news is there are treatment facilities that are no cost available.
Can I Get a Copy of the Law?
Yes, see links below to access the written law.
For additional information please visit:
Casey’s Law: http://caseyslaw.org/
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration: http://findtreatment.samhsa.gov/TreatmentLocator/faces/stateSearch.jspx