The Best Option: Dual Diagnosis
Although Baker acting a drug addict can provide potentially life-saving intervention, it likely wont be enough to curb compulsive drug use. Trying to unravel comorbid conditions of mental illness and substance abuse is a difficult, if not impossible task. Treating one without the other has little chance for long-term success, both in terms of identifying the underlying cause of addiction or getting a person to stop using for good.
The best way to deal with a drug addict struggling with severe mental health issues is to enroll them in a dual diagnosis addiction treatment center. Specialized programs employ unique behavioral therapy methods that have been proven to be effective amongst addicts with a mental illness.
What Happens When Someone Is Baker Acted
The Baker Act process can effectively be summed up into two parts. The first occurs within a 72-hour period where a person undergoes an evaluation to determine they indeed qualify for needed emergency psychiatric care. The second part involves medical professionals and the courts being in agreement that an individual qualifies for treatment.
Although the Baker Act is a Florida-only statute and is not national, the term Baker acted has become a widely used term around the country, referring to any kind of involuntary institutionalization.
The Court Orders The Evaluation
Once a person petitions the court providing information, the court issues an ex parte order. That means an involuntary evaluation is required. A judge must grant this order based on the information available. Then, a law enforcement officer takes the person into custody and transports them to a location for help.
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What Does The Baker Action Not Cover
The Baker Act cannot be used in all circumstances. In essence, any case that falls outside of the three criteria is beyond the purview of this specific law. For example, developmental disabilities are not considered a mental illness as a result, someone cannot be Baker Acted for having one and refusing treatment.
Intoxication and substance abuse impairment alone are also not covered under the Baker Act. Instead, those who are a threat to themselves or others because of their addiction are subject to Floridas Marchman Act. The Marchman act applies the same concept as the Baker Act where families can petition the court to force their loved one into addiction treatment.
While the Baker Act is unique to Florida, most other states have their own laws surrounding court-ordered treatment. One example is Caseys Law in Kentucky and Ohio.
How Does Someone Get Committed Under The Baker Act In Florida
Florida State ArchivesAdvocates for better mental health holding poster in 1957, years before Baker Act becomes law.
University of Florida Health makes the careful point that, People who require the use of the Baker Act have often lost the power of self-control, and they are likely to inflict harm to themselves or others. It is important that the Baker Act only be used in situations where the person has a mental illness and meets all the remaining criteria for voluntary or involuntary admission. Its this very point that may have some police and even mental health professionals not using the Act when they should and conversely, and often unintentionally, using it when its not appropriate. When youre Baker Acted in Florida, youre taken into custody, handcuffed and brought before a judge. In Miami, just days before the mass murder in Parkland, a 7-year-old was Baker Acted. The child punched a teacher and was taken by police from the school in handcuffs.
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Suggestions From A Receiving Facility
- If you anticipate a patient will be coming to the Vines Hospital, please call ahead to alert the admissions staff. They will review clinical information and get approval for the admission.
- Within a few minutes, you will be notified if it is appropriate to transfer the patient to the Vines Hospital or another facility. Remember, involuntary patients MUST go to the nearest receiving facility. Staff will be happy to help you get the patient to the appropriate place for help.
- Be prepared. The original BA52 form MUST accompany the patient. Before calling law enforcement to transport, call the Vines Hospital for an approval to admit and then FAX us the patients face sheet and BA52.
The Baker Act: What Residents Of Florida Should Know
The Baker Act, formally known as the Florida Mental Health Act, gives officials, as well as those who deem it necessary, the right to examine those who are suspected of suffering from a mental illness within the state of Florida, even against their will. Involuntary exams of those in question would take place after the accused has refused a voluntary exam, is shown to be unable to care for themselves , or if alternative methods of treatment have been declared to be ineffective.
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How To Have Someone Committed For Drug Abuse
Anyone with a loved one who is addicted to drugs would jump at the opportunity to have him or her committed in order to help stop the downward spiral into oblivion, but that is not typically an option for most. There are some instances, however, where people can be involuntarily committed for their drug abuse.
The evidence that you would need to provide in order to have your loved one committed for drug abuse is going to vary based on the state that you are in. There is not one common involuntary commitment law that spans across the country, rather each state has its own set of required data. In general, however, if you want to have a loved one involuntarily committed for drug abuse, the following is needed:
A Law Enforcement Officer
A law enforcement officer has the authority take someone meeting the Baker Act criteria into custody and transport them to the nearest receiving facility.
Generally, this starts with a phone call from a friend, family member, or bystander after witnessing behavior indicating the person may be mentally ill and is in danger.
Once again, the officer files a written report detailing the circumstances regarding the person being taken under custody. Ultimately, this report becomes part of the clinical record.
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What To Do After The Baker Act
If you or a loved one was provided treatment through the Baker Act, further treatment should be sought to prevent future setbacks. One of the most common mistakes people make after the Baker Act is to either do nothing or just keep with the same treatment as before. In some cases, sticking with your treatment is just fine but for many, it is an indicator that you might need something more intensive, especially if you have been admitted to a hospital via the Baker Act more than once. The Baker Act is to be used for emergencies only and not as a way of keeping someone on track or to stabilize him or her.
After a Baker Act, you might want to have your most important members of your support network come in to a meeting with your outpatient mental health team to learn more about how they can support you and also provide important information to your team. Having a team of professionals who you feel safe and confident in is important for your long-term well-being. The same is true of your support network. Those individuals who help support you need to be fully educated and informed about your mental illness so that they can be most effective.
A clinical psychologist can help you get to the root causes of your problems and can help you learn new skills to manage your mental illness more effectively and to move forward to a brighter future.
Its An Alternative To Jail Or Prison
Something else that has a strong correlation with drug use? Getting in trouble with the law. Approximately 20% of all incarcerated Americans are there for a drug offense. Unfortunately, as many prisoner-advocates have pointed out, most jails and prisons are poorly equipped to treat substance abuse. Of the more than 3,200 jails in the country, only 23 provide medically-assisted treatments such as Suboxone or methadone. The Baker Act can circumvent criminal processing and have them go to a facility to receive help for drug use, rather than immediately being imprisoned.
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What Is The Difference Between The Baker Act And Marchman Act
The Baker Act is a Florida law that allows individuals who are experiencing crippling mental illness to be involuntarily committed for examination and treatment. The Marchman Act is also a Florida law but is invoked for individuals who are deeply impaired by a substance use disorder.
Each act lasts for different periods of time. For example, when someone is Baker Acted, he or she can only be involuntarily held for 72 hours for an examination. After that, any and all recommended treatment is voluntary and not required by court order. The Marchman Act, however, does require individuals to remain in an involuntary hold for up to five days for examinations and detox. Following that, a judge can order the individual to remain in treatment for up to 60 days, with the potential to follow up that order with another 90 days if deemed necessary.
Because both acts focus on different concerns, the criteria that need to be met in order to invoke either one varies from one another. An example of this would be that a person who needs to be Baker Acted must be in danger of suffering significant personal harm if not intervened on while someone receiving the Marchman Act must have threatened to inflict harm on him/herself or others due to his or her substance abuse.
Voluntary Baker Act Admissions
The Baker Act also allows for adults to voluntarily apply for temporary institutionalization at a facility. This voluntary admission can also be used by parents who want to have their minor children examined at such a facility. Once there, the patient will be examined by facility personnel, and an assessment will be made of his or her mental health and potential for harming self or others. When the problem can be attributed to something other than psychiatric concerns, the patient will often be released. In cases where mental health issues require intervention, a treatment plan will be developed.
Thought these types of admissions are technically voluntary, patients should understand that they may be detained at the facility for up to 24 hours after they request to leave. That delay is required to provide facility personnel with the time they need to determine whether an involuntary examination or treatment is required. In cases where that intervention is believed to be necessary, the facility has two days to file a petition asking the court to involuntarily commit the patient.
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Can You Be Fired For Being Baker Acted
How does a Baker Act affect employment? You may have heard the term Baker Act before but not understand what it means. A good example is if you have a mental health condition that causes episodes of psychosis and you find yourself detained against your will for a mental health evaluation.
Having gone through the episode, you may be worried about what happened if you dont remember the details and how this will impact your relationships with your friends, family, and employer. Its perfectly reasonable to be concerned about what comes next, and our counselors can provide the guidance you need to recover while retaining your employment. The last thing you need is to endure additional problems because of something that might not have been under your control.
If youre aware of your legal rights, you can pick up the pieces with minimal negative impact to your career.
What Should I Know About The Baker Act And Marchman Act For Drug Treatment
If you live in Florida and have a loved one who is struggling with the disease of addiction or a serious mental health issue, you may not know what to do. Knowing about the Baker Act and the Marchman Act for drug treatment can help you get your loved one the assistance they need. Addiction is a cunning disease that makes a person believe that they dont have a problem, and this is often why theyre resistant to treatment. The Baker Act and Marchman Act can help your loved one get the help that they need when they arent in the right state of mind.
When people are struggling with the disease of addiction or a serious mental illness, they arent in the right state of mind. This can lead to a person being a danger to themselves or others while also refusing to get help. The Baker Act and Marchman Act were implemented in Florida to not only keep the person safe but others safe as well. Through these acts, your loved one can get the help that they deserve to live an incredible life.
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A Court Hearing Is Scheduled
An involuntary placement hearing must be scheduled within five days. A court-appointed public defender is assigned to the individual unless they have other representation. Testimony and evidence are provided to determine if the person is competent to consent to treatment. If not, then a guardian advocate is appointed to the individual. If they are found incompetent, an order remanding the individual to a treatment center for up to six months is possible.
The Baker Act Criteria
As written in the Florida Statute 394, The Baker Act process must begin and end with the criteria set in place. Unfortunately, sometimes individuals are placed under involuntary mental health examination when they do not meet the criteria as its stated. To prevent the abuse of this act, it is important to understand The Baker Act criteria.
By Florida law, The Baker Act criteria are as follows:
According to the law, there are specific people qualified to enact The Baker Act. For an involuntary mental health assessment to be completed, a family member of the emotionally unwell individual must report to one of the following:
- Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
- Physicians Assistant
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Youll Need To Find A Facility Accepting Baker Acts
A big responsibility of the friends or family members trying to Baker Act an addicted person is finding a mental health facility that has space available or is willing to accept a person being involuntarily committed. These facilities have the ability to refuse court-ordered patients, which can make this requirement even more challenging to fulfill.
Helping Someone With Mental Health Issues
Keep an eye on your friend or family member. Try to get her help in the form of mental health counseling or medication. Even if she seems to be improving, watch her very carefully. Using the Baker Act is a last resort.
Talk to your friend about voluntarily Baker Acting himself. Anyone 18 years of age or older can Baker Act himself. If the person is under 18, parents must provide the authorization. You can also contact your friend’s mental health professional. Any mental health professional can authorize the psych hold if he feels it’s necessary.
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Florida Baker Act Criteria
In order to temporarily commit someone to a mental hospital they must meet the following criteria:
- The person is mentally ill .
- The person refuses a voluntary mental health evaluation or doesnt understand why one would be necessary.
- The person is a threat to themself or others, or the person is incapable of caring for themself.
A person may also choose to a voluntary Baker Act, but they must be willing and able to consent to treatment.
Behaviors that Indicate a Mental Health Crisis
In general, behaviors that can be considered indications of a mental emergency include the following:
Filing An Ex Parte Order
File an ex parte order at the clerk of court’s office for your county. To do this, you must have witnessed the criteria for initiating the Baker Act, which is a person out of control who may cause harm to herself or others, and swear to it. You must have discussed voluntary Baker Acting with the person previously. Fill out the necessary paperwork at the clerk’s office, and after it’s processed, a law enforcement officer will take the person into custody. A mental health professional will then evaluate your friend or relative.
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What Happens After 72 Hours
After 72 hours, a person may be discharged or asked to seek voluntary admission . Otherwise, if it has been deemed necessary, a petition can be filed in the court for involuntary placement to the facility.
The individual must appear in court within five days. If the judge deems that involuntary commitment is warranted, they can place the individual in a facility for up to six months.
What Is The Florida Baker Act
Many people ask what is the Baker Act? The Baker Act is a law in the state of Florida that allows family members and mental health professionals to provide emergency mental health services and to temporarily detain someone who is impaired and is determined to be a threat to themselves or others. People who require the Baker Act typically cannot commit to safety and need help immediately. Examples of conditions that might warrant the Baker Act are suicidal or homicidal thoughts and urges, especially when there is a clear plan or intent to cause harm, severe and debilitating psychiatric symptoms that prevent an individual from being able to care for him or herself, a sudden and severe worsening of psychotic symptoms that impair normal functioning, any kind of delusion or hallucination that might cause extreme agitation or violence in an individual.
The Baker Act was put into law in 1972 in the city of Miami by a woman named Maxine Baker who sponsored the bill.
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