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A law that recently went into effect in Ohio allows families to seek involuntary addiction treatment for a loved one—if the family agrees to pay for it.

The law has only been used once since it went into effect in March, The Plain Dealer reports. A similar law was passed in Kentucky eight years ago, the article notes. Unlike the Kentucky law, the Ohio law requires family members to sign an agreement stating they will pay the full bill for treatment, and give the court a deposit for half before treatment begins.

According to Cuyahoga County Probate Court Magistrate David Mills, his court has received many inquiries about the law, but once the family finds out they would have to pay thousands of dollars, they are no longer interested.

Bill Denihan, Chief Executive Officer of Cuyahoga County’s Board of Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services, said he is troubled by the financial burden placed on families. “While we have problems with this, we don’t chastise the intent to try and help someone who needs help,” Denihan said. “But this is for those that have money. The question we have is what about those who don’t have money? How is this fair and equitable?”

In Kentucky, families are obligated to pay for treatment costs, but they do not have to pay up front, and can use insurance, or find a treatment program that is free.


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