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An individual who may be found as a danger to themselves or others due to a mental illness can be placed and detained on an emergency hold by a variety of professional persons to be held for up to 72 hours for treatment and evaluation to determine if they need to be involuntarily committed to treatment.
An individual can be placed and detained in a licensed detoxification program without the individual’s consent for up to five days if an “Application for Emergency Commitment” is completed by a responsible person and approved by the detoxification program’s administrator or designee. The person completing the application must be at least 18 years old, and must have actually observed the behavior of the individual they wish to commit to the detoxification program. This person becomes the applicant and must state in the application that the person whose commitment is being sought is either intoxicated (under the influence) and clearly dangerous to self and/or others or is incapacitated and clearly dangerous to self and/or others. The application must contain facts, statements, and information that support the alleged grounds for commitment.
If the licensed detoxification program’s administrator or authorized designee determines that the grounds for commitment meet the necessary criteria for emergency commitment, the application is signed, dated and the time documented on the application. This documentation authorizes the emergency commitment period to begin. The individual is then committed, evaluated and treated, but not longer than five days. The emergency commitment is NOT a “five-day hold” since the program has the discretion to discharge the client from the emergency commitment and the detox program with a referral to voluntary treatment, if appropriate, sooner than five days.
If the program’s administrator or authorized designee determines that the grounds for commitment do not exist, the application shall be denied. The individual whose commitment was being sought shall be encouraged by staff to seek voluntary treatment, if appropriate, and discharged from the program upon the individual’s request.
For further information regarding the emergency commitment process, please contact a licensed detoxification program in your area.
No one can be committed because he or she is an alcoholic or drug abuser. A threat or act of physical harm, or incapacitation to the point of inability to care for self that presents as dangerous to self/others is absolutely required before the court has the authority to deprive an individual of personal rights and place them under the custody of the Office of Behavioral Health.
Please contact a licensed detoxification program in your area or the Office of Behavioral at 303.866.7400 during regular business hours. Licensed detoxification programs are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
New Title 27, Article 65
On May 16, 2013, Governor John Hickenlooper signed into law HB13-1296, creating the Civil Commitment Statute Review Task Force under C.R.S. §27-60-102.
Pursuant to C.R.S. §27-60-102 (3), the Civil Commitment Statute Review Task Force studied the definition of “danger to self or others” as set forth in section C.R.S. §27-65-102 (4.5) and, considering the civil liberties and public safety concerns of that definition, ratified the definition by a majority vote.
C.R.S. § 27-65-105, the section that governs mental health emergency procedure, continues to read “imminent danger to others or to himself or herself…”
“Danger to self or others” has been further defined to read:
Additionally, the Civil Commitment Statute Review Task Force informally considered the definition and application of the term “imminent” in C.R.S. § 27-65-105. The plain language meaning of “imminent” should be applied, and can be found here. In section 105, the term “imminent” applies to the proximity in time of the dangerousness. More specifically, the term “imminent” applies to a determination of whether the danger to others or himself or herself is current; it does not apply to how soon in time a specific dangerous act may be undertaken.
Mental Health Commitment Forms
Alcohol and Drug Applications for Emergency Commitment Forms
Visit the Publications & Reports page and expand the Behavioral Health Publications section to browse reports.