On 21 February, 2018 changes to the laws about compulsory drug and alcohol treatment came into effect.
To find out how to apply for severe substance addiction treatment, see the Ministry of Health's website.(external link)
To find out about the Family Court's role in the process, see the information below.
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When a person is accepted for compulsory treatment for severe substance addiction, the clinician in charge signs a Compulsory Treatment Certificate and treatment begins. Within 10 days of the certificate being signed, the clinician must ask the Family Court to review the patient’s compulsory status.
Within 7 days of receiving the review application, a Family Court judge will interview the patient. Usually, the interview will be by video link unless the judge thinks this isn’t suitable.
During the interview, the judge will talk with the patient about their situation and the proposed treatment, and the patient will have the chance to tell the judge what they think about it. The judge will also consult with the clinician and any other people they think necessary.
After the interview, the judge will decide if the criteria for compulsory treatment has been met. If it has been, the judge can:
The review hearing will be held within 10 days of when the application was filed.
The patient must be at the hearing unless the court says they don’t have to be.
If the patient is in a treatment centre, the hearing will probably take place via video link. If the patient is being treated in the community instead, the hearing may be held at the court or a place near to where the patient lives.
At the hearing, the judge will consider all the information from the application and the interview. If they decide the patient should continue to receive compulsory treatment, the judge will make a Compulsory Treatment Order.
If the judge decides the criteria for compulsory treatment hasn’t been met, they’ll dismiss the application and order that the patient be immediately released from compulsory treatment.
If you or someone else is receiving compulsory treatment for severe substance addiction, you can ask the Family Court to consider whether it should continue.
You or someone else can ask for an urgent review at any time if you or they believe:
The people who can apply for an urgent review of a patient's status are:
or the patient's:
To apply, fill in the form ‘Application for urgent review of patient’s status’ and give it to your local court.
If a person isn’t happy with the judge’s decision, they can appeal to the High Court.
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