Under certain circumstances, as ordered by a judge of Probate Court or Superior Court, Georgia law authorizes involuntary treatment of persons proved to be suffering from mental illness or drug or alcohol addiction.
In crisis situations, and sometimes in certain other instances, the law allows the judge to order a person to be apprehended by the Sheriff or his deputy on the basis of a Two-Party Affidavit and delivered to a hospital for evaluation by a doctor or other appropriate medical personnel to determine whether in his or her opinion involuntary treatment is necessary or advisable. The Sheriff's Office or the judge may also take such action on the basis of a Doctor Certificate. In addition, if a police officer observes a crime being committed by a person whom the officer reasonably believes is mentally ill and in need of treatment, the officer has the discretion to take such person to be evaluated instead of arresting him or her.
Patients and persons who are Proposed Patients (people who are the subject of involuntary treatment proceedings) have certain rights in connection with the legal procedures and with the treatment itself. These rights are specified by statute. Many other due process protections are built into involuntary treatment proceedings as well.
A word of caution: the Georgia statutes governing involuntary treatment proceedings are complex and sometimes confusing. As a result, the local application of these statutes varies from county to county. Patients, lawyers, family members and friends of persons who may potentially be subject to involuntary treatment proceedings are encouraged to inquire locally about standard practice in that area.
You should also be aware that as a practical matter, involuntary treatment for drug or alcohol dependent persons may not generally be available except as necessary to allow detoxification of persons who do not want to be there voluntarily. Often a good alternative is to seek other, less formal means of intervention, available through various social service agencies.
To assist you in obtaining a more in-depth overview of how this body of law works, we offer an outline of Important Code Sections, Involuntary Treatment Standards for Inpatient Treatment and Outpatient Treatment and Involuntary Treatment Proceedings. As well as, Frequently Asked Questions.
For further information, email Kim Willson at email@example.com.>
- mhddad.dhr.georgia.gov/portal/site - Georgia Department of Human Resources Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities & Addictive Diseases - provides treatment and support services to people with mental illnesses and addictive diseases, and support to people with mental retardation and related disabilities.
- www2.state.ga.us/Departments/DHR/aging.html - Georgia Department of Human Resources Division of Aging - provides assistance to older individuals, their families, and caregivers to achieve safe, healthy, independent and self-reliant lives.
- www.mcg.edu/Resources/MH/ - The Georgia Mental Health Network - a compilation of information about state and national mental health resources provided by Medical College of Georgia.
- home.bellsouth.net/p/s/community.dll?ep=16&groupid=121244&ck= - The Georgia Office of NAMI: National Alliance for the Mentally Ill - "The Nation's Voice on Mental Illness" Advocacy ? Education ? Support ? Research
- firstname.lastname@example.org , FAMILY FIRST OF CENTRAL GEORGIA - Senetta Sarazine, Ph.D., 1239C Russell Parkway, Warner Robins, GA 31088 * Phone: 478-922-3993 * Fax: 478-922-9950
- www.nmhag.org/common/content.asp - National Mental Health Association of Georgia - works to enhance the mental health of all Georgians.
- http://www.nami.org/ - NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation?s largest grassroots organization for people with mental illness and their families. Founded in 1979, NAMI has affiliates in every state and in more than 1,100 local communities across the country.
- Phoenix On-Call: Access to Care and Services dealing with Mental Health and Substance Abuse * To Find Help Contact: (478) 988-7100 24 hours a day / 7 days a week.