Resource Library

Nature and Utilization of Civil Commitment for Substance Abuse in the United States

Although civil commitment has been used to address substance abuse for more than a century, little is known today about the nature and use of substance-related commitment laws in the United States. We examined statutes between July 2010 and October 2012 from all 50 states and the District of Columbia for provisions authorizing civil commitment of adults for substance abuse and recorded the criteria and evidentiary standard for commitment and the location and the maximum duration of commitment orders. High-level state representatives evaluated these data and provided information on the use of commitment.