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Old 04-12-2009, 01:32 PM   #1 (permalink)

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Advice on involuntary commitment?

My mother and I were contacted today by someone who has been trying to help my brother get/stay sober. We have had very limited contact with my brother since he relapsed four days out of treatment in December.

My brother's sponsor believes his condition has deteriorated to the point where he need to be committed for long-term treatment. Unfortunately, we have no idea how to go about getting him committed. Has anyone been through this, and can you offer any advice?
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Old 04-12-2009, 02:02 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have not, Osakis, so I can't offer any advice, just my support.

You might get in touch with the MN depts that deal with mental health or substance abuse treatment. They would know how it all works.

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Old 04-12-2009, 02:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I've been through it with my cousin, who was diagnosed paranoid-schizophrenic. I have also been through it with AH. The laws vary according to each state's statutory code. In Arizona, where I currently live, I could not get AH committed because his psychological state was being influenced by alcohol abuse. Now if I had been living in South Dakota, it would have been grounds for commitment.

In other words, in Arizona, if somebody is behaving like a psychotic maniac and drinking like a fish, they cannot be committed. I assume it is based on the fact that a judge would need to be able to determine if a psychiatrist's assessment of the patient was based on the patient being insane without any addictive agents possibly causing the mental instability.

I currently don't have accesss to Lexis. If I did, I could pull up the state code for you and conduct a search. How about trying to google it?

With regard to my cousin, he was hearing voices. However, he was not harming himself, nor was he of any imminent harm to other people. That is an important criteria for committing a person, as a rule. With a concerted effort, his younger brother was able, after a year of fighting with the courts, to get my cousin institutionalized.

Forge google. I just pulled out my Bluebook. It's the "bible" for all legal writing because without it, we couldn't write legal papers with proper citation. Here is the address for the Minnesota court system, according to my Bluebook: Minnesota Judicial Branch. I hope that helps you. You should be able to locate the Minnesota statutes.
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Old 04-12-2009, 02:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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BTW, the site I gave you isn't the most user friendly. If you have any problems finding what you're looking for, let me know. I slogged through two semesters of legal research and actually liked it. Good luck!
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Old 04-12-2009, 02:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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You might want to contact the Minnesota Health Department tomorrow and talk with them. They can tell you if there are any laws, and what they are, and how to go about obtaining an involuntary commitment.

Each state is different. Some you have to go to court first and have them declared "incapacitated" and unable to handle their own affairs and get someone (preferably family, but sometimes not) appointed guardian. So check with Minnesota Health Department, if they don't know, they will probably know who to send you to that does.

In some states if they have threatened suicide or have been violent to themselves or others they can be held on a 72 hur to 8 day 'evaluation hold.' I do not know if that law is on the books in Minnesota.

Found this:


You can download that to your computer and then increase the font size for easier reading, lol

and this:


Hope what Prodigal gave you and the above helps. It should get you started in the right direction.

Love and hugs,

God Bless You All As You Trudge The Road
Of Happy Destiny (especially when you are
trudgin thru alligators up to your butt)
Sobriety: AA June 7, 1981
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Old 04-13-2009, 09:58 AM   #6 (permalink)

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Been looking into the same thing here in Wisconsin for AH sister. Not too many options available. We have the option to submit a 3 Person Petition, where 3 people write a letter stating why the person needs help, but according to the official I talked to, it doesn't usually occur with alcoholics, just people with mental disease.

You know, despite my efforts to try this, it still comes down to the AH wanting to quit. You could have them go to an IP facility for 28 day clean up, but as soon as they get out, back to same old stuff.

I keep telling myself that when my sister comes out and asks for help and knows she has is an alcoholic, that will be the time she gets help, nothing I or my Mom do to force the issue will help her, she needs to help herself.
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Old 04-14-2009, 07:34 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I've dealt with this a couple times with a friend in St. Paul.

Local law enforcement will bring someone into a facility if it is believed they are a threat to themselves or others. Then there is a mandatory 72 hour hold for evaluation. This is mostly for mental health.

My understanding is that if someone is not making any threats about suicide or harming anyone else, there's not much to do. If someone is simply drunk or high then detox is about it.

Edit: the simplest thing may be to call your local law-enforcement non-emergency line and talk to them. They will know when someone can and cannot be confined.
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Old 04-14-2009, 12:24 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Dreamstones you may have more leverage than you think:

Very Interesting report of a decision in '02 of the Wisconsin Supreme Court as to what determines a 'danger to themselves' :

Wisconsin Court Rejects Attempt To Narrow Commitment Law -- Bender 37 (24): 13 -- Psychiatr News

I found this part of the ruling quite interesting:

In State of Wisconsin v. Dennis H., the court ruled that mentally ill persons who meet the criteria set forth in the fifth standard "are clearly dangerous to themselves because their incapacity to make informed medication or treatment decisions makes them more vulnerable to severely harmful deterioration than those who are competent to make such decisions."
You may want to keep checking.

I am originally from Wisconsin, and I know 2 1/2 years ago an old and dear friend got her alcoholic/addict husband involuntarily committed and it was only later when they had him detoxed and working with him that they figured out he was also Bi Polar. He is still committed, as out in the real world he won't take his medications.

So if your sister has reached that point, don't give up, sometimes it is our last recourse.

I know, I know we (I) always say "hands off the alcoholic and/or addict" but when they reach the state of not being able to take care of themselves, when they are harming themselves, even just by not taking medication, my Mrs. Fix It kicks in. Sometimes Involuntary commitment is necessary.

Sometimes, no many times, it doesn't even have to be a family member pursuing it. A call to "Adult Protection Services" and a Social Worker takes over.


Love and hugs,

God Bless You All As You Trudge The Road
Of Happy Destiny (especially when you are
trudgin thru alligators up to your butt)
Sobriety: AA June 7, 1981
Codependency: Alanon June 7, 1984
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Old 02-22-2011, 10:55 AM   #9 (permalink)

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If a person is currently taking college courses, is employed, and has no self-harm/mental illness issues, is it possible to have them committed based solely on their addiction to using perscribed medications intravenously?
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Old 02-22-2011, 11:00 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I wouldn't think so, tachma. This thread is almost 2 years old. You might want to start your own thread in the Friends and Family of Substance Abusers forum.
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Old 02-22-2011, 12:16 PM   #11 (permalink)
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We tried the 3 party petition here in Wisconsin for my XAH a while ago. It is VERY difficult and is almost never approved because it is essentially stripping a person of their rights. It has been done, though.
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