Pubdate: Sun, 15 May 2016
Source: Daily Mountain Eagle (Jasper, AL)
Copyright: 2016 Daily Mountain Eagle
Author: Lea Rizzo


One local woman is working to get an involuntary drug rehabilitation 
law passed in Alabama.

The law, which JoAnn Hendrix is calling Jamie's Law, would provide a 
means for families to petition the court to order their loved one 
with a drug problem to be placed in an involuntary drug 
rehabilitation treatment program.

In a paper outlining the objective of Jamie's Law that Hendrix sent 
to the Governor's office, she describes it as a law that would 
provide a means of intervening with someone who is unable to 
recognize their need for treatment due to substance-abuse impairment 
of their mind. This would be similar to Casey's Law, also known as 
the Matthew Casey Wethington Act for Substance Abuse Intervention, in Kentucky.

There is currently no law in Alabama that could force an adult into 
involuntary treatment.

Hendrix explained, "Involuntary drug rehab would be where the court 
would petition you to go [to treatment] but you can't get out."

Now, people who are taken to a treatment center can choose to leave 
whenever they want.

Hendrix added that locked down facilities are a good thing because 
people can't just choose to leave the facility without ever receiving 

"When you have harsh withdrawal symptoms [like what] heroin causes, 
you're not going to want to stay" in a treatment facility, she explained.

Hendrix said that her grandson didn't even spend one night in the 
first treatment facility she took him to and that her son walked out 
of two treatment facilities.

Jamie's Law was inspired by the daughter of one of Hendrix's friends. 
Jamie was a young mother of two who died of a heroin overdose shortly 
before the start of the 2015-2016 school year. Her two children are 
now being raised by her mother.

According to data from the Center for Disease Control, "Since 2000, 
the rate of deaths from drug overdoses has increased 137 [percent]." 
Additionally, "During 2014, 47,055 drug overdose deaths occurred in 
the United States. ... In 2014, 61 [percent] of drug overdose deaths 
involved some type of opioid, including heroin."

Hendrix is starting a special interst group, Families Do Care, to 
bring attention to the need for involuntary drug rehab treatment in Alabama.

She said she has already seen support from the community and other 
people she has spoken to about the issue. In addition to contacting 
the Governor's office, Hendrix is looking for people interested in 
traveling to Montgomery to speak with lawmakers on the issue.

The group will be holding a meeting today at 2 p.m. at Gamble Park in 
Jasper to discuss Jamie's Law and interest in traveling to Montgomery.

"It's a good thing, we need this law in Alabama. We don't even have a 
count for all the overdoses. ... We do have a problem and it should 
be attended to. ... It gets to the point where substance abusers 
can't help themselves and you have to" help them, Hendrix said.

Those looking for more information, interested in joining Families Do 
Care or traveling to Montgomery can contact JoAnn Hendrix at 
205-522-0074 or  com.
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