Whitesburg KY

Casey’s Law restores lives

Casey’s Law — the common name given to the law that permits court-ordered involuntary treatment of people suffering from alcohol and drug abuse — is an effective tool for families, but only if it’s used.

Established in 2004 by the Kentucky General Assembly to provide an option for parents and family members with nowhere else to turn. Very often a person hooked on illicit drugs or alcohol is not a good judge of what’s best for them. This law allows their loved ones to intervene.

It’s not unlike other forms of involuntary hospitalization and comes with a stiff requirements to guard against misuse.

For the court to order involuntary treatment, it must determine all of the following exist: the respondent suffers from drug or alcohol abuse; the respondent presents an imminent threat of danger to self, family or others as a result of alcohol or drug abuse or a substantial likelihood exists of such a threat of danger in the near future; and the respondent reasonably could benefit from the treatment.

Most people would be willing to stand in the line of fire to save a family member, but not all life-and-death crises can be resolved in that manner.

Although drug abuse cases fill jails and dominate the court system, few people utilize Casey’s Law. County Attorney Jenny Oldham promoted it last October in hopes of boosting awareness and a community forum earlier this month tried to do the same.

Addictive substances have power over people. The all-consuming need for the next fix prevent a person from appreciating their family’s well-meaning acts of intercession.

If your family is struggling with someone with these self-destructive issues research the Matthew Casey Wethington Act for Substance Abuse Intervention. It can be a lifesaver.

— The News-Enterprise, Elizabethtown

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