Substance Use Emergency Commitment/Substance Use Involuntary Commitment

In Colorado, an individual may be committed to substance use treatment if a judge orders it through the Involuntary Commitment process. This is considered a civil commitment and goes through the civil courts. If granted, a civil commitment is an order from the judge for the person to complete the treatment that is determine by the Office of Behavioral Health.

The Involuntary Commitment should be a last option reserved for individuals who meet the following:

  • Refusing all forms of voluntary treatment.
  • Is psychiatrically stable. (See FAQ below)
  • Is an imminent risk to themselves or others as a direct result of their substance abuse.
  • Is medically stable enough to be placed on an emergency commitment through a licensed detoxification center.
  • When sober, the individual is likely to benefit from substance abuse treatment. (See FAQ below)

An involuntary commitment is a “due process” that goes through a court proceeding. This means that the individual that you are seeking a commitment for has the right to fight the proceeding and be appointed court counsel should they not be able to afford counsel.

Under the involuntary commitment process, a court order must be obtained first before the individual is placed into treatment. This means that the individual will likely be in a withdrawal management or detoxification program  between 7-14 days upon starting this process.

Should the court order the individual under an involuntary commitment, they would be committed into the custody of the Office of Behavioral Health. At this point, the Office of Behavioral Health is not able to provide the petitioner or family information about the individual’s treatment in accordance with HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996).

We encourage all petitioners or family to follow up with the individual (and treatment program) under the commitment and participate in the individuals’ treatment where appropriate. Please refer to our frequently asked questions below. You may also contact us below using our “contact us” email address.