Involuntary Treatment

General Information

Under certain circumstances, as ordered by a Judge of Probate Court, Georgia law authorizes involuntary evaluation of persons proved to be suffering from mental illness or drug or alcohol addiction.

Two-Party Affidavit

In crisis situations, and sometimes in certain other instances, the law allows the Probate Judge to order a person to be apprehended by the Sheriff or his deputy on the basis of a Two-Party Affidavit, both of whom have had the opportunity to observe the demeanor and conduct by actually seeing the person within the preceding 48 hours, 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.

Proposed Patients

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.

Statute Variance

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.

Drug & Alcohol Dependent Persons

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.

Additional Information

For more information, please call 770-443-7541.