Snyder signs Walsh bill helping those affected by substance abuse

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From left: state Rep. John Walsh, R-Livonia; Carol and Mark Garofoli; Gov. Rick Snyder and Stacey Garofoli, the family’s eldest daughter.

From left: state Rep. John Walsh, R-Livonia; Carol and Mark Garofoli; Gov. Rick Snyder and Stacey Garofoli, the family’s eldest daughter.

Under a new law recently signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, families and health professionals can petition a court to involuntarily evaluate and treat adults who struggle with substance abuse, announced state Rep. John Walsh, R-Livonia.

“Substance abuse doesn’t just harm the person struggling with addiction; it harms the families and friends of people in need of help, too,” said Walsh, who introduced the legislation. “This law makes it easier to help those we love recover from drug use and repair families damaged by abuse.”

House Bill 4486—now Public Act 200 of 2014—requires proof of a substance abuse problem as well as the likelihood to cause harm to themselves or others before rehabilitation is mandated. Those petitioning for mandated treatment must also guarantee payment for all associated health care costs.

“Our goal is to help family and friends improve the lives of those affected by drug abuse by allowing requests for much-needed medical treatment,” Walsh said. “Not everyone can recognize and seek substance abuse help on their own, nor should they have to.”

Health professionals must present certified proof that patients require involuntary treatment, are dangerous to themselves or others and would actually benefit from rehabilitation. The type, duration and location of the patients’ recovery efforts must also be prescribed by health professionals.

“Hopefully this will help bring families together to help overcome very challenging emotional, psychological and medical dilemmas,” Walsh said.

The final decision to mandate treatment is decided by a probate court.

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