How to Get Help for a Loved One Using Casey’s Law

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Many people in Ohio grapple with drug addiction or alcoholism, conditions that can be effectively addressed through treatment. However, there are instances where individuals resist seeking help. In the state of Ohio, you have the option to help a loved one in their journey to recovery by invoking Casey’s Law. This legislation enables you to request the court to mandate rehab attendance for your loved one.

This guide addresses issues that include:

  • Is Casey’s law in every state?
  • How to Casey law someone?
  • In what states can your force someone into rehab?
  • Can you force someone into rehab in Ohio?

What is Casey’s Law?

Casey’s Law is a legal act that allows the friends or family members of those with substance use disorders to have their loved one forced into court-ordered addiction treatment. Rehab may be mandated for up to 360 days.

This involuntary treatment act involves the family members filing a petition with a court, an evaluation of the individual by QHPs (qualified healthcare professionals), and court-ordered treatment at a residential facility in the event of probable cause being determined.

Casey’s Law is the result of a mother’s unwavering love and was initiated by a woman who intimately understood the devastating impact of substance use disorder on both individuals and families. Tragically, Charlotte Wethington lost her son, Casey, to a heroin overdose when he was just 23 years old, despite her tireless efforts to secure him the necessary treatment. Because Casey was considered an adult, Charlotte had no legal means to compel him into engaging with treatment, a circumstance she believes could have potentially saved his life.

In the wake of Casey’s tragic passing and driven by Charlotte’s relentless determination to combat addiction, Casey’s Law was established in 2004 with the aim of assisting others facing similar challenges. Today, many advocates of Casey’s Law are parents like Charlotte, who are wholeheartedly dedicated to doing everything in their power to rescue their children from the clutches of addiction.

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How Does Casey’s Law Work?

The process for initiating involuntary treatment in Ohio varies from one county to another. To begin this process, you should reach out to your local county probate court and inquire about the specific Casey Law requirement.

Individuals filing for involuntary treatment in Ohio are typically responsible for covering the treatment costs upfront. That said, efforts are underway to amend the law to enhance the financial accessibility of involuntary treatment for all individuals. As of March 2020, further revisions to the law aim to compel medical insurance providers to offer coverage for such treatments and eliminate filing charges.

In Ohio, to be eligible for Casey’s Law, the person struggling with addiction must meet the following criteria:

  • They must pose a threat to themselves and/or others.
  • They must be dealing with a drug and/or alcohol addiction.
  • Treatment should be beneficial for them, even if they do not acknowledge having a problem with drug addiction or alcoholism.

Treatment will not be immediately imposed on the respondent (the person who requires treatment). Instead, once the petition is filed, there is a procedural sequence that must be followed:

  • Initial hearing: The court will schedule an initial hearing with the petitioner (the person seeking treatment for a loved one) shortly after the petition is filed. This is usually within one to two days.
  • Evaluation: Following the initial hearing, the respondent will undergo evaluation by both a physician and a qualified mental healthcare professional. These professionals will prepare and submit their respective reports to the court.
  • Second hearing: Subsequently, a second hearing will take place, typically within 14 days of the initial hearing. During this second hearing, the court will review the reports and evidence presented.
  • Treatment order: Only after the second hearing has occurred and the court has considered all relevant information can a treatment order be issued.

This means that the entire process typically spans approximately two weeks before treatment can be formally ordered for the respondent. This structured approach ensures that all relevant factors are carefully assessed before any treatment decisions are made.

In Kentucky, to initiate involuntary treatment:

  • Complete the petition for involuntary treatment, outlining the person’s danger to themselves and others.
  • Contact your county attorney for guidance.
  • Attend a court hearing, where the court decides if involuntary rehab is necessary and schedules a follow-up hearing.
  • Medical professionals examine the person.
  • The court determines whether rehab is required, with treatment duration ranging from 30 to 360 days.

Other U.S. states may have different mechanisms in place for involuntary commitment for addiction treatment.

How to Use Casey’s Law to Get a Loved One Help

If you want to know how to force someone into rehab, invoking Casey’s Law in Ohio involves several key steps:

  • Initiating the petition: The process begins by filing a petition with the county probate court in the jurisdiction where the person in need of treatment resides. Contact your local probate court to inquire about the specific paperwork and procedures required. The petitioner is usually a family member or guardian who is deeply concerned about the individual’s well-being.
  • Evaluation by qualified healthcare professionals: Once the petition is filed, the court will appoint QHPs to assess the person’s condition. These accredited professionals may include psychiatrists, psychologists, addiction specialists, or other qualified experts. They will evaluate the individual’s substance use disorder, mental health, and overall well-being to determine if there is probable cause to believe that the person requires treatment.
  • Court hearing: If the QHPs find probable cause, a court hearing is scheduled. During this hearing, the petitioner, the person in need of treatment, and any relevant witnesses may present their cases. The court will weigh the evidence and decide whether to order involuntary treatment.
  • Treatment mandate: If the court orders involuntary treatment, the affected individual will be required to undergo treatment at a designated facility. The treatment duration can be up to 360 days, although the actual length may vary based on the person’s progress and needs.
  • Financial considerations: Although the petitioner is typically responsible for covering the costs of treatment upfront, efforts are being made to make involuntary treatment more financially accessible, including potential changes to insurance coverage and filing charges.
  • Monitoring and progress: Throughout the treatment period, the individual’s progress is closely monitored, and adjustments to the treatment plan may be made as needed. The ultimate goal is to help the person achieve and maintain recovery.

Forcing Someone into Rehab vs. Intervention

When faced with a loved one’s substance abuse problem, families and friends often face the dilemma of whether to force them into rehab through legal means like Casey’s Law or to pursue a more traditional intervention approach. Both approaches have their merits and considerations.

Casey’s Law

  • Legal mandate: Casey’s Law provides a legal framework for compelling individuals into treatment, especially when they pose a danger to themselves or others due to their substance abuse. It can be initiated through the court system, as outlined above.
  • Structured process: The process under Casey’s Law follows a formal legal procedure, involving court hearings, evaluations, and treatment orders. It prioritizes the person’s safety and well-being, even if they are unwilling to seek help themselves.
  • Timely action: This approach allows for swift intervention when immediate treatment is deemed necessary, potentially saving lives in critical situations.


  • Voluntary participation: An intervention is usually a more voluntary and empathetic approach. It involves gathering friends and family to express their concerns and encourage the individual to seek treatment willingly.
  • Emotional support: Interventions are focused on offering emotional support, conveying love, and helping the individual understand the impact of their addiction on themselves and those around them.
  • Choice and autonomy: Unlike Casey’s Law, which involves legal compulsion, interventions respect the individual’s autonomy by urging them to make the decision to enter rehab on their own.

Factors to Consider

  • Severity of the situation: The severity of the addiction and whether the person poses an immediate danger may dictate the need for a legal intervention or a more traditional approach.
  • Willingness to seek help: Consider whether the individual is willing to seek treatment voluntarily. If they are open to the idea, an intervention may be more appropriate.
  • Support system: The presence of a strong support system, including friends and family, can greatly influence the success of an intervention.
  • Long-term recovery: Both approaches aim for the same outcome: the individual’s recovery and well-being. It’s important to consider which approach aligns better with the person’s long-term recovery goals.

In many cases, a combination of these approaches may be the most effective strategy. Casey’s Law can be a lifeline for individuals in immediate danger, while interventions can be a pivotal step in helping someone acknowledge their addiction and choose recovery. Ultimately, the choice between forcing someone into rehab and intervention depends on the unique circumstances and the best interests of the person struggling with addiction.


people at sunset representing Casey’s law ohio

Get Help with Getting a Loved One Intervention at Ohio Recovery

If you need to stage an intervention and connect a loved one with effective and evidence-based addiction treatment in Ohio, we can help at Ohio Recovery in Cincinnati, OH. We treat all types of addictions, including prescription medications, illicit drugs, and alcohol.

In addition to outpatient programs and IOPs (intensive outpatient programs), we also offer PHPs (partial hospitalization programs). If your loved one engages with our PHP, this provides the most structured and supportive addiction treatment outside of residential rehab.

All Ohio Recovery treatment programs mix behavioral, pharmacological, and holistic interventions, treating the person rather than focusing only on the symptoms of addiction. Treatment programs all include a strong aftercare component to minimize the chance of relapse derailing your loved one’s recovery.

Call 877-679-2132 to discuss your options.

Table of Contents

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Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
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Christopher Glover CDCA

My name is Christopher Glover, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently in school and working to grow in competence to better support our community. As a recovering individual I know the struggles that you or a loved one can go through and that there is help for anything you may be struggling with.

The hardest part is asking for help and we are here as a team to best support you and your decision to start your journey towards a better future. Connect with Chris on LinkedIn

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Amanda Kuchenberg PRS CDCA

I recently joined Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers as a Clinical Case Manager. I am originally from Wisconsin but settled in the Cincinnati area in my early 20s.  My career started in the fashion industry but quickly changed as I searched to find my drive and passion through helping others who struggle with addiction. 

As someone who is also in recovery, I wanted to provide hope, share lived experience, and support others on their journey.  I currently have my Peer Recovery Support Supervision Certification along with my CDCA and plan to continue my education with University of Cincinnati so I can continue to aid in the battle against substance addiction. Connect with Amanda on LinkedIn.

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Patrick McCamley LCDC III

 Patrick McCamley (Clinical Therapist) is a Cincinnati native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2019. Patrick received his bachelors degree in psychology from University of Cincinnati in 2021 and received his LCDC III (Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2022. Patrick has worked in Clinical Operations, Clinical Case Management, and Clinical Therapy throughout his career.

Patrick has tremendous empathy and compassion for the recovery community, being in recovery himself since 2018. Patrick is uniquely qualified to be helpful because of the specific combination of his academic background and his own experience in recovery.

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Bill Zimmerman CDCA

Bill Zimmerman is a Greater Cincinnati Area native who has worked in substance use disorder/co-occurring mental health disorder treatment since 2018. Bill received his (Chemical Dependency Counselor Assistant) license from the Ohio Chemical Dependency Professionals Board in 2020.

Bill has worked in Clinical Operations in both support and supervision, and Program facilitating and 12 step recovery support during his career. Bill has a passion for the recovery community, having been in recovery himself since 1982. Connect with Bill on LinkedIn

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Taylor Lilley CDCA, PRS

Growing up in Louisiana with addiction running rampant on both sides of my family. A life away from drugs and alcohol seemed impossible for someone like me. I remember what it was like sitting across from someone thinking there is no way they could ever understand what I was going through.

Sharing my experience offers a credibility and a certain type of trust with clients that only someone who has walked down this road can illustrate. To immerse myself further into the field of addiction, I am currently studying at Cincinnati State for Human and Social Services.  I hope I never forget where I came from, if I can do it, so can you!

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Thomas Hunter LSW

Hello my name is Thomas Hunter. I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I am a licensed social worker.In my scope of practice I have worked in the areas of mental health and recovery for thirty years. The clients I have worked with in my career have ranged in age from seven to seventy.

I strive each day to serve my purpose of helping those in need and I believe I do so by utilizing all of my experiences to accomplish my goal of supporting those who desire to establish their sobriety and maintain it in their recovery. Connect with Thomas on LinkedIn.

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Mary D.Porter,LICDC

 My name is Mary D. Porter. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2008 from The University of Cincinnati. I received My Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Licensure in 2001. I retired from The Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center on April 14, 2014. Currently, I am the Associate Clinical Director for The Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers in Cincinnati.. Due to the fourth wave of the Opioid Epidemic in 2019,  I decided to enter back into the workforce to assist the addicted population.

The overdoses were astounding and I wanted to help.  I consider myself  to be an advocate for the addicted population. My compassion, resilience, empathy, wisdom, knowledge, experience and  love I have for this forgotten population goes beyond words. I consider what I do for the addicted population as a calling versus a “career,” because I too was once an “addict and alcoholic.” Today I am 45.5 years alcohol and substance free.

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Ben Lemmon LCDC III

Hello, my name is Ben Lemmon, and I’m the Vice President and Clinical Director at Ohio Community Health Recovery Centers. I’ve been working in the addiction and mental health field since 2013 and decided to enter the field after overcoming my own challenges with addiction.

When I first meet a client, I always explain to them that the reason we are meeting is because they are not capable of obtaining or maintaining sobriety, and my goal is to create a person that can maintain sobriety. I believe a person’s personality is made up of their thoughts, feelings and actions and my job is to help clients identify the thoughts, feelings and actions that have them disconnected from recovery and provide them with the tools to live a healthy and happy life. Connect with Ben on LinkedIn