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Should meth treatment be forced?

DCJP Should meth treatment be forced?
Hello All,

I am going to try to post a link to a pdf (portable document format) article about the pros and cons of forced treatment. It is a Canadian document, but I would guess that similar laws and debate rage on and on in the various US states too.

Should treatment be forced?

In Canada, several provinces have or are bringing in new laws to be able to force youths into treatment - even for a short time. This is largely in part to the issue of meth use.

Anyway, if you do download the article I would appreciate any feedback or comments.


Re: Should meth treatment be forced?
My first opinion would be to say HE#@ no. If you are not ready its wasted money. But then I started to think a bit. What if someone gets put into treatment and they wake up and decide maybe this is the way to go? Could that be possible? I guess I would say I am mixed. But I am not an addict so I would like to see what addicts have to say.
Cyndi Re: Should meth treatment be forced?
I'm not an addict either,

But I do think that it wouldn't hurt.

Gives a new perspective, teaches new ways of thinking and can pave the way when they do decide to change their lives.

It's like giving Penicillin to a child when a sibling has strep throat. Just in case.
Re: Should meth treatment be forced?
Well, when I was placed in a drug diversion program, I had to go to treatment/counceling. But I had to pay for it. The counceling didn't help me, but the mandatory 12-Step meetings did. I woke up and decided I wanted to be clean.

I can see how forcing people to go to treatment can be a waste of taxpayers money (if the addict has no income) if they are not willing to stay clean. So maybe just one "free" treatment? I don't know about other recovery programs, but I know all 12-Step fellowships are free, maybe that would be a better and more affordable way to go.
toons1 Re: Should meth treatment be forced?
As an x- addict I have to say yes, treatment should be forced. It would be great if addicts can decide to get treatment on their own. I loved my lifestyle as a user. The treatment I received was forced. It was either rehab or jail & this happened more than once. I was unwilling to quit & saw nothing wrong with abusing meth & marijuana if my treatment hadn't been forced I would probably be dead or at the best in jail. I am very grateful for all parts of the system that forced me to get clean. Now I really do have a great life, been clean for 3 years now. If they had caught me when I was a youth instead of as an adult. Maybe I wouldn't have had the record I now have to live with & the limitations it puts on me for the rest of my life. thanks, toons1.
Sfj Re: Should meth treatment be forced?
I read the document and here’s my reply. (You asked for it)

On page two – Current Issues:

“Not all individuals who consume alcohol and other drugs have a substance abuse problem or ever will.”

This is a very good statement and completely contradictory to 12-step philosophy.
It is the more common approach used by treatment professionals and highly embraced in the studies I’m taking.

The last paragraph regarding “Motivational Interviewing” seems a bit ambiguous.

I took an in-depth course in MI and I have a very high opinion of the methodology.

The article has some good sense and intelligent thought applied to it. It asks questions.

As far as minors are concerned, my opinion is that there needs to be much more parental involvement – an issue not adequately addressed in this article. IMHO

It’s good to see the issue being considered but it really lacks sufficient information and position to form a final opinion. That’s how I see it – for now.
Re: Should meth treatment be forced?
My opinion - not based on the article. When I have time to read it, if my opinion changes, I will post again.

I believe in forced treatment. I also understand that if someone doesn't want help, the treatment will not work. However, some individuals get lost in the Meth Maze and are not capable of judging their situation and helping themselves. Once you remove the drug and offer tools to manage your life and stay sober, a person might choose to listen.

I saw this happen in Rehab. This young man, probably 18, looked like death. He was white and would not participate - only wanted to die....it was very sad. But, he turned around after a couple of weeks.

I think something needs to be done for Addicts who become pregnant. Why should society let them continue to use and damage their baby. They remove the baby from the mom and society has to deal with the damaged baby as it gets in the system. One mom has 5 kids, then she dies.....
inkolb Re: Should meth treatment be forced?
It can't hurt. If they don't pick up on it then at least you tried. There is a chance that they get it the first time. At least they get a little bit of the basis. If they continue after the age of 18, I still think a little bit will continue to stay with them and they will have a jump on what lies ahead.
Re: Should meth treatment be forced?
should treatment be forced? yes absolutely!
Sfj Re: Should meth treatment be forced?
To annabhilton,

Have you ever considered how detrimental it is to force people to do things against their will?

Doesn't it contribute to bad attitudes, rebelliousness, and even hate?

Do jails rehabilitate or punish?


"You lead a horse to water but you can't make ..."

"You can lead a kid to treatment but you can't make him ..."

or can you?
pcejp Re: Should meth treatment be forced?
I am the mother of a 17 year old daughter. Yes, we "forced" her into treatment and I have absolutely no regrets regarding our decision. When we informed her that she was going to treatment, we got the usual responses of she would run away, we were wrecking her life and she would never forgive us, etc.

She was placed in Hazelden for 30 days. She used in the rest stop on the way to treatment and told herself that the day she was released she would use again. She would not even say goodbye to us. It took at least two weeks for her to reevaluate her drug use during this program.

After Hazelden she entered a residential setting for 90 days. When she came home for the holidays, she told me that she had thought about using at that time. But decided "why? when I already have two clean months".

She now have 5 1/2 months clean and has been home for almost two months. She regularly attends NA and CMA meetings.

Would I do it over again? It is the one thing I am surest about in my life.
Cyndi Re: Should meth treatment be forced?
When I was in high school I was "in love" with this guy... I thought that I'd die without him. Mom and Dad couldn't stand him and forbid me to be any where near him. Mind you I was 15 at the time, but they still "ruined my life". (Or so I thought).

I saw this guy about a year ago, he was unshaven, stinky, wearing orange pants with greese all over them, was missing teeth and had put on alot of weight. He has six children, none of which lives with him or he cares for, by three different mothers. He does not have a job nor does he own his own vehicle. Hell, this could be a great life for him, but my parents wanted more for me. Just think, he could have been all mine if my Mom and Dad had not FORCED me to stay away from him.

Something to ponder. I mean, so what if they are pissed off for being forced into something. Sometimes you don't know what is really "good" for you until you do it. Even if you are forced to.
Sfj Re: Should meth treatment be forced?

I agree with the above posts.

Sometimes force is good. But I like the word "mandated," or "required" better.

The word "force" seems kinda nasty and mean to me.
But each person feels differently.

Nevertheless, I still think it is a worthy topic of discussion and opposing views should be heard. (or read)
Re: Should meth treatment be forced?
Yeah I know what all of u are saying, and as an addict myself and a rebelios kid i tell u, forcing someone works. I'll tell u why. My mother always forbade me from doing stuff, going out to clubs when i was too young, going here and there. I was forbidden to do everything, never the less i did everything with twice the force! because i was told no i wanted to do it more and i did... Seems as if im contradicting myself? yes but the point is, my mom just yelled at me, when she should have lock me up in a rehab when i was hooked on drugs so bad i couldnt see straight anymore. She took the right steps but just not quite sever enough. the only time i really got scared is when i woke up with half the police precenct in my bedroom, few days after my 22nd bday. I woke up and see a bunch of cops and medical workers standing around my bed, saying Anna wake up ? can u hear me? what did u take? " i was like damn! wtf? what happened was that i took so much coke the nite before ( that was a year before i started on meth) and freaked out cuz i started buggin out and couldnt go to sleep and wanted to hurt myself for some reason, so i took my knife (which i always carried on me - paranoia mama) and cut up both of my own wrists. And then i took a xanax and passed out. So in the morning my poor mother tried to wake me up and couldnt cuz xanx knocked me out big time. So she saw my mutilated wrists and thought i was dead ofcourse! so she called 911. Yes this is not easy for me to recall, cuz I am ashamed of myself for puttting my mom thru all this. i was never a good daughter. SO they woke me up and took me in handcuffs to Coney Island Hospital, I was screaming and kicking like a mad person, but they wouldnt let me go. they put me in a psych ward. for the nite. That really scared me., but not enough! they let me out the next day and i stayed clear of drugs for like 3 months, then it was forgotten and i met TIna aka meth, and then nobody tried to stop me efficiantly enough. I could always lie my way out of any sicky situation. But if My ma would have said Enough of this B#ll Shyt! and lock me up in a hospital for a long while, and i would go thru withdrawal and be FORCED to be sober ( cuz i was never ever sober anymore, my thinking was all messed up ) i would be forced to see just wtf was happening to my life, I would have stopped sooner. Cuz i only stopped when I was too sick to work, get up in the monring, to live in general, my life consisted of waking up, feeling like i was in a coma at like 5 pm, getting my ass outta bed, all stiff, doing a couple of lines, no food needed. Shower and off I went to score some more dope until the morning come home few days later or in the afternoon the same day, pass out and the same thing again and again,,,,
Re: Should meth treatment be forced?
Yes, Yes I agree with forced treatment. Sometimes its the only way to get someone to realize there is HELP out there.
Re: Should meth treatment be forced?
The first Rehab my son went into he was forced, against his will and lied to (told he could leave if he didn't like it - NOT). He was 16 and my Ex and I were not getting along and not communicating well. Have you seen those shows where the Rehab Cops show up and pull your kid out of bed and ship them off to Rehab…..well, he did go willing, but that was the kind of Rehab they sent him to. Locked down and out in the desert; all for about $70,000.

The day before my son was to get on an airplane from California to Utah I was informed and allowed to see him for a couple hours. I tried to speak to my Ex and he told me to ….. (well you know)….. I tried to talk about alternatives that were closer to us so he didn’t feel abandoned and discarded….he wouldn’t listen. There was a new step mom in the picture and this created tension and stress. I feel she just wanted my son out of the picture. Her and I have a long history together….. but I won’t go into that.

My son was there for THIRTEEN MONTHS…..give me a frek’n break. And he wasn’t getting any better. I finally scrapped up enough money for a trip out there and my son was so depressed when I left to go back home. He wasn’t working the program and my Ex had to finally give up since he ran out of money. My son immediately went back to drugs when he came home.

The next Rehab my son went into for 30 days (local and with all the family support) at 18 years old, he did really well and felt he gained a lot from it.
Re: Should meth treatment be forced?
Every one needs their own medicine so to speak. But ofcourse there must be some love and affection present for the patient. But that only works when the person is ready, if he/she is not ready, im afraid nothing will work...
Loraura Re: Should meth treatment be forced?
For youth, which is what yuo mention, I think treatment should absolutely be forceable.

I'm not saying forced treatment is the answer every time, but as a minor, that minor's parents should have the legal authority to make that judgement for them.


DCJP Re: Should meth treatment be forced?
Ok... here is my take on the article.

First I like the article as it is only three pages and relatively easy to read. Plus, it brings up a lot of points or issues without telling the reader what they should think.
These concerns focus primarily on youth and their involvement with specific drugs such as methamphetamine.
A lot of parents have done all that they can to help their teens and have felt defeated - they are looking for outside help and support to intervene with their children who lack the ability to think "clearly" because of their active substance use. Can the government step in to help these parents help their children?
Coerced treatment refers to the delivery of substance abuse treatment services to individuals who are either reluctant or refuse to enter treatment unless they risk losing something important to them.
Coerced or "pressured" treatment still ultimately allows an element of personal choice, even if the alternative is not great - treatment or jail. I (Doug) used to be an Addictions Counselor in a teen detention facility, and provided a variety of treatment programs, from one-to-one counseling, to group work, to 12 Step programs with community volunteers. Even though the teens were in jail one of the first things I would say to them when they showed up for my programs is: "If you do not want to be here - you are free to go back to your unit." They were not FORCED to participate. Yes, there were consequences if they did not attend - like a longer sentence, but they still had a CHOICE.

Under Current Issues
Not all individuals who consume alcohol and other drugs have a substance abuse problem or ever will.
This was one of the quotes picked out by Sfj. While he looked at the statement as being contradictory to 12 Step beliefs, I see it as cautioning against locking up people and forcing treatment on people who may indeed NOT have a substance abuse problem. In a sense like being against capital punishment on the change that an innocent person might be killed by mistake.
However, recent developments in the area of problem recognition and motivation suggest that many of them may not realize that their behavior is a problem or may fear embarrassment and stigmatization.
This part addresses two issues: First that some addicts may not even realize themselves the extent of their problem and a program (forced or not) - may help them to step back from themselves and see how their use really is affecting their life in a negative way.
Secondly, it addresses the issue of people (specifically teens) not wanting to be labeled as an addict, junky, drug user, etc.
Harm Reduction is founded on the notion of offering participants choices and options for their treatment, while recognizing that many individuals with substance abuse problems may not be willing or able to stop using drugs.
If the approach of harm reduction is to reduce the harm but still allow for continued drug use over the short term, then the individual is hopefully being empowered to want to quit and change their life - by giving them better support, helping to improve their health, and so on. However, if the second part of the quote rings true that "they cannot stop using drugs" (on their own); then some sort of intervention, coercion or (even) forced treatment might still also be considered as harm reduction as the drug using behavior is possibly forceably stopped.
Forcing individuals to undergo treatment for substance abuse may be seen as violating their civil liberties.
I thought several people on this board would be all over this quote - saying "Darn right - you cannot force people into treatment - Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness..." For us Canadians, our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is a very recent law and only came into effect several years after we re-patriated our constitution from Britian (not all that long ago).
There may also be issues of professional ethics for treatment providers who deliver assessment and treatment services to clients who are mandated to attend treatment.
If you are working as an Addictions Counselor and a client is FORCED to sit in on your program and they really do not want to be there, are you hurting them or violating their rights?
Currently in Canada, the use of mandatory and coercive approaches requires a legal or quasi-legal framework (the person has broken some sort of law and is in jail or on probation/parole)...
We are seeing a lot more drug courts that give people the choice of jail or treatment, but in most cases it still is a choice.
Extensive use of mandatory treatment initiatives would place a significant additional strain on existing treatment resources...
Then the issues is about money and the cost of treatment? If society decides that "it is ok in certain circumstances to coerce or even force teens or adults into treatment" (for their own good) - the reason that we would NOT do this is because it costs too much?!
...evidence suggests that treatment can have a positive effect on a person's substance use behavior despite being coerced to participate.
My own personal experience agrees that coerced treatment can have a positive benefit and people do get helped. I think a big determination of the success or not is if the facilitator can get the clients to "buy-into" their own self-help and desire to help themselves and take all the good out of the program that they can. A further quote supports this:
One such study found that internal motivation was a better predictor of retention rates and client engagement in treatment than legal motivation.
While I personally might conceed that there is room for coerced participation in treatment, and possibly forced removal from a harmful situation (such as street life, prostitution, etc) - I strongly believe that the only way to produce a lasting change in another person is by building their self-efficacy, internal locus of control, and internal locus of responsibility. This is done by focusing in three encompassing areas
Reason (help the person to learn to think and figure things out for themselves).
Purpose (help the person to know in their heart that there is a purpose for their life and that their life has meaning.) What I tell some of my students is that it is using all the crap you have been through in your life in a positive way to help others.
Self-Esteem (this is at a real core level of learning to feel loved and to learn how to love and cherish ourselves). If you feel that you have self-worth - you can motivate yourself to make your life better.

It is through the building and maintaining of healthy relationships that we are able to change lives, both our own and those of the people around us.
Our greatest blessing and greatest curse as human beings, is that we are social beings and need each other.
Re: Should meth treatment be forced?
SFJ??? It's not becoming of your age to get all pi$$y about the word, "force".

I take a big deep breath in and await my lashing!

Edited Part-----

man·da·to·ry Pronunciation (mnd-tôr, -tr)
1. Required or commanded by authority; obligatory: Attendance at the meeting is mandatory.
2. Of, having the nature of, or containing a mandate.
3. Holding a League of Nations mandate over a territory.
n. pl. man·da·to·ries
A mandatary.

Bechya don't like the word ----- commanded----huh? Okay, da brat will return to her corner!
Re: Should meth treatment be forced?
Mandatory Treatment in Canada
I applaud Canada’s laws that the article mentioned. Most of them deal with people under the age of 18. We already have laws that are mandatory for those under 18. They have to attend school, register for military service in case the draft comes back, they are not allowed to have a vote in political affairs, most states prohibit marriage for some that are under 18, etc.
If we accept mandatory laws for education, military service, voting, and marriage, what is the problem with mandatory treatment that may save their life? At the very least, mandatory treatment provides a chance for the drug user to better his life, just like mandatory education does.

I also applaud the Winnipeg judge that ordered the pregnant woman to undergo treatment. In my opinion, the healthcare issue for the woman and unborn child, as well as the possible social costs, takes precedence over the gender-specific-issues.

The local Drug Court program (mandatory treatment) here in Southern Arizona has a lot of success stories.

Current Issues Article quote:
“Forcing individuals to undergo treatment for substance abuse may be seen as violating their civil liberties.”

You know that America is the land of the free and I am so grateful. However, absolute freedom in all situations is a formula for disaster. My generation in the 1960s tried that absolute freedom with TURN ON, TUNE IN and DROP OUT, free-love communes, sex, drugs and rock and roll, etc. I was all for it then when I was in my youth but it did not get me very far. Janis Joplin said it best when she said “freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose” From the stories I have read on this forum, drug addicts have lost a whole lot including my son.

I agree that “not all individuals who consume alcohol and other drugs have a substance abuse problem or ever will” However, I think treatment for some drug users should be mandatory for the betterment of the individual and society.

TRUE STORY In May of 2004 my family went to the authorities (Psychiatrist) and the mental health legal Department and signed papers to have my Niece forced into treatment. She ran but the crises team caught her and took her into an inpatient treatment facility and she was not able to leave the building for 90 days. She received all kinds of treatment and education classes. Her three children were put into the custody of my brother. She was a 10+ years multiple use addict that included Meth and was violent and arrested several times. Additionally, she would talk to herself and when she talked to a person you could not understand what she was saying most of the time.

Today she has her children back, has gotten a car, a three bedroom home and this May she will have two years clean. In the last 18 months she has associated with the family more than at any time in the past 12 years.

I don’t know all the reasons she got clean but I know that the forced treatment was part of the reason.

I know that forced treatment is not the answer for all but let us allow mandatory treatment to help those that it will help. Fighting addiction needs all methods and tools.

See also:

Committing someone to treatment against their will

Force meth treatment or serve jail term?

Principles of effective treatment (challenging a myth)

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