Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pat Sajak admits he used to drink before 'Wheel of Fortune' tapings

Pat Sajak admits he used to drink before 'Wheel of Fortune' tapings

A Family Guide to the Florida Marchman Act


Let me first introduce myself. My name is Raymond G. Ferrero III, Esq. I am an attorney and Partner with the Florida based law firm of Addiction Recovery Legal Services, LLC. I am also the Executive Director of Heath Affairs for Nova Southeastern University’s Health Professions Division and a past Gubernatorial Appointee to Florida’s Statewide Drug Policy Advisory Committee.

It is my great pleasure to be writing this brief overview of the Florida Marchman Act. For over a decade, I have been actively involved in Florida’s mental health community and Marchman Act Courts. I have witnessed the Florida Marchman Act develop from what was once a little known (and, little understood) law into what is now being recognized not only throughout Florida, but nationally as a family’s greatest tool for addressing crisis substance use, abuse and addiction within a family unit. Professionally, I take great pride in my ability to honestly inform families that are struggling with a loved one in crisis that the Florida Marchman Act is the answer that they have been seeking. The Florida Marchman Act, when properly litigated by an attorney with a full understanding of the nuances and powers of a law, is a process that will: (1) establish consequences and hold an addict legally accountable for their continued substance abuse; and (2) empower families with a mechanism to interrupt a substance abusers stranglehold on the people around them. Let’s begin our overview of the Florida Marchman Act…

What is the Florida Marchman Act?

Most simply put, the Florida Marchman Act is an “involuntary commitment statute”. T
he Florida Marchman Act is a legal procedure that allows the friends or family of someone who is substance abuse impaired to confidentially petition a civil court and ask the court to help them address their loved one's substance abuse problem. How does the court do this? By ordering the individual into mandatory drug and/or alcohol “assessment & stabilization” (in layman's terms - a detox) and then into subsequent treatment that will be overseen by the court for a minimum of (60) sixty day.

The key to the Marchman Act court order is that it is “involuntary”. The impaired individual must comply with any and all treatment recommendations by the assessing professionals or face consequences by the court for any non-compliance. Once ordered, the individual has no choice in the matter. Even if the individual has repeatedly refused to voluntarily get help in the past for their substance abuse, once the Florida Marchman Act is in place they cannot refuse help in the future.

Under the Florida Marchman Act, if an individual refuses to comply with treatment once ordered, they subject themselves to contempt of court and possibly jail time for up to (6) six months. This may seem harsh, but recognize foremost that the intention of the Marchman Act court is to provide care and not punishment. Any person sentenced to jail under the Florida Marchman Act for contempt is always given a "purge provision". They can purge any jail time at any time by doing one simple thing: re-entering and re-engaging treatment.

What is the history of the Florida Marchman Act?

The Marchman Act was passed in 1993 by the Florida Legislature and is officially entitled the Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services Act of Florida. The Marchman Act was named after Hal S. Marchman, a pastor and lifelong advocate for the rights of alcoholics and drug addicts throughout Florida. Hal S. Marchman is most widely recognized worldwide as the Chaplain of the Daytona International Speedway, who gave the invocation at the beginning of every race for 42 years before retiring at the age of 85. Hal S. Marchman passed in October of 2009 in Daytona, Florida. 






Why did the Florida Legislature draft and enact the Florida Marchman Act?

Florida is an extremely progressive State in its recognition of the growing trend of substance abuse across the Nation and the need of the government to play a role in addressing the consequences that addiction has upon society as a whole. Especially, when a substance abuser reaches the chronic stage of addiction whereby a personal choice to abuse substances now begins to pose a danger not only to themselves, but the public at large. Medical science has conclusively demonstrated that a substance abuser loses the ability to make rational decisions regarding care and actually loses the ability to appreciate their own need for care in general as they progress along the stages of substance abuse and addiction. The Florida legislature recognized that some avenue for intervention (without criminal penalty) was necessary for the protection of society and the individual abuser. Thus, the Florida Marchman Act was adopted and entered into law.

Specifically, The Florida Marchman Act - Florida Statute §397.305 recognize(s):

Substance abuse is a major health problem and leads to such profoundly disturbing consequences as serious impairment, chronic addiction, criminal behavior, vehicular casualties, spiraling health care costs, AIDS, and business losses, and profoundly affects the learning ability of children within our schools and educational systems. Substance abuse impairment is a disease which affects the whole family and the whole society and requires specialized prevention, intervention, and treatment services that support and strengthen the family unit.

When should one consider the Florida Marchman Act to help an impaired individual?

That is actually a simple decision. A friend or family member of an impaired individual should consider filing under the Florida Marchman Act immediately upon suspecting that the individual is using or abusing drugs or alcohol. Remember, it is well established that addiction is a disease. It is a disease that simply does not get better on its own over time. In fact, just the opposite is true. Addiction is a chronic medical condition that is progressive in nature (having well-defined stages) that can only be treated by abstinence. Without intervention and abstinence addiction is ultimately a chronic and fatal disease. Those are the facts. Accordingly, the sooner one intervenes in the progress of an individual’s substance abuse impairment the better. The decision to first consider filing a Marchman Act is simple, but (believe me) I do understand the difficulty of the decision as well. When counseling a family, I always ask them to consider the following: (1) the impaired behavior of the individual is in large part predicated by the fact that there is absolutely no consequence for their continued use; (2) this is not a problem that gets better on its own without something being done; and (3) there are ultimately only two possible outcomes for an individual who progresses through the stages of substance abuse and addiction: jail or the morgue. 

Is this a big decision? Yes, it is. However, I cannot stress enough, Florida Marchman Act courts are truly nothing to be intimidated by or feared. The court is there to help. Even in the worst case scenario, when a person’s substance abuse is merely suspected (without any anything concrete for the family or friends to put a finger on), once filed, the Florida Marchman Act can be an incredibly effective tool to uncover what (if anything) is actually going on. And, there is absolutely nothing harmful that will result from the process for anyone. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Remember: The Florida Marchman Act is a civil process that is strictly confidential in nature. The process will never impose any criminal court ramifications upon a person or potentially affect the person’s unblemished legal record. The intent of the Florida Marchman Act is treatment, not punishment. More so, because addiction is a medical condition, the Florida Marchman Act process is strictly confidential. Any and all records are protected by Federal HIPPA law (the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). Be proactive. Don't simply wait and hope that things will somehow get better. 

What criteria does the court ultimately consider before granting a Florida Marchman Act? 

In conclusion, thank you for taking the time to read this brief overview of the Florida Marchman Act. I hope that this information is helpful for you or someone you know with a loved one who suffers from substance abuse and/or addiction. I leave you with the following criteria established by the Florida Marchman Act statute that I go over with every family I counsel. More often than not, when a family has placed that call to my office for consultation, the following becomes their “Ah-ha” moment for what needs to be done next: 

"A court may grant a Petition for Involuntary Assessment, Stabilization and/or Treatment, if there is a reasonable belief that the individual is substance abuse impaired and the individual: 

(a)   has lost the power of self-control with respect to substance use; and either 
(b)   has inflicted or is likely to inflict physical harm on him/herself or others unless admitted; or 
(c) the person's judgment is so impaired they are incapable of appreciating the need for care and making a rational decision regarding such care; or 
(d)   the person has refused to seek voluntary care.  


How do I file a Marchman Act Petition? 

In order to initiate the Florida Marchman Act please call 1-877-35-ABUSE for a free detailed consultation that is specific to the issues you are facing. The following has been offered as a general overview of the Florida Marchman Act process. Litigating the Florida Marchman Act statute should be done by an attorney well versed and experienced in Marchman Act law. As in any legal procedure, you should always seek the advice of an experience legal professional. 

A Family Guide to the Florida Marchman Act – © 2012

More than 100 suspected gang members arrested

Demi Moore hospitalized after inhaling whip-its full of nitrous oxide

Prescription drug abuse, deaths target of new Washington law

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Are you a problem drinker? Find out now!

Great Link for Families: The Medication Library

Welcome to our medication library. Within this section, you will find general information about some of the most commonly-prescribed medications for mental disorders. This information includes proper use of the medication, common side-effects, and the interactions the medication may have with other medications or over-the-counter drugs.

'Blind mules' unknowingly ferry drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border

Editor's note: This story is part of a series looking at the violence tied to Mexican drug cartels, their expanding global connections and how they affect people's daily lives.

(CNN) -- Every weekday, Juan Andres drives across the U.S.-Mexico border from his home in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, to the University of Texas at El Paso. Read Full Story...

Former President Of ORU Richard Roberts Arrested For DUI - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Former President Of ORU Richard Roberts Arrested For DUI - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Podcast: Helping Your Kids Avoid Drugs and Alcohol

Research shows that kids who learn a lot about the risks of drugs and alcohol from their parents are up to 50% less likely to use. December’s podcast, presented by CIGNA and The Partnership at Drugfree.org, presented practical advice on how to effectively communicate with your teens to help them avoid drugs and alcohol, including whether or not to bring up your own history with these substances. Guests included Ameila Arria, PhD, Senior Scientist and adolescent and young-adult specialist at the Treatment Research Institute, and Director of the Center on Young Adult Health and Development at the University of Maryland, and Sandra Carcamo, mother of three and Parent Advisory Board (PAB) member of The Partnership at Drugfree.org.  As a PAB member, Sandra provides firsthand knowledge and expertise to help review the usability and guide the development of our resources for parents.

Listen to the podcast: Helping Your Kids Avoid Drugs and Alcohol

Police: Passenger Smoked Pot On Flight

Updated: Monday, 23 Jan 2012, 3:34 PM EST
Published : Monday, 23 Jan 2012, 3:34 PM EST

NEWARK, N.J. - A man faces drug charges after allegedly smoking pot on a JetBlue flight to Newark, N.J.
Airport police say the man claimed he had the marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Crew members from Flight 510 from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., say they became suspicious Monday when the man, identified as 43-year-old Adam Blumenkranz of Los Angeles, dropped a clear plastic bag in the cabin.
As the plane approached Newark the crew reported the man entered the lavatory. When he emerged, they say there was a strong smell of marijuana. He was charged with possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia and released. Blumenkranz could not be reached for comment. Two telephone listings for him were disconnected. Copyright Associated Press

Monday, January 23, 2012

Government Publishes Guide on Drug Abuse Treatment | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Government Publishes Guide on Drug Abuse Treatment | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Florida Doctor Sues CVS for Not Filling His Prescriptions | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Florida Doctor Sues CVS for Not Filling His Prescriptions | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Some cancer patients continue to smoke after diagnosis

Doctors say smoking is such an addictive habit that many people still light up, even when they're seriously ill. Now a new study finds even cancer patients rely on tobacco to get them through the day, and that's not good. Read Full Story...

Pot-based prescription drug looks for FDA OK

Pot-based prescription drug looks for FDA OK

13 killed, 8 at funeral, in violent Mexico state

13 killed, 8 at funeral, in violent Mexico state

State tries to get tough on lawbreaking medical practitioners

State tries to get tough on lawbreaking medical practitioners

Officials Say Prescription Drug Pipeline from Florida to Kentucky Starting to Close Off | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Family History of Alcoholism May Affect Teens’ Decision-Making | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Family History of Alcoholism May Affect Teens’ Decision-Making | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Substance Abuse Rates Far Higher in Those With Mental Illness, Report Finds | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Substance Abuse Rates Far Higher in Those With Mental Illness, Report Finds | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Pennsylvania Senator Calls for Closing of Loopholes in Law on Synthetic Drugs | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Pennsylvania Senator Calls for Closing of Loopholes in Law on Synthetic Drugs | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Study Finds Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Brings Relief to Some Patients in Pain | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Study Finds Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Brings Relief to Some Patients in Pain | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

How Colombia is busting drug cartels By William C. Rempel

Editor's note: William C. Rempel, who worked for 36 years as an investigative reporter and editor at the Los Angeles Times, is the author of "At the Devil's Table: The Untold Story of the Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel" (Random House, 2011). This is part of an occasional series on the Mexico drug war.

(CNN) -- Gruesome and seemingly endless accounts of violence in Mexico have obscured one notable bright spot in Latin America's high-stakes struggle with powerful drug gangs. In Colombia, once home to the world's biggest cocaine cartels, new crime organizations are being picked apart with silent efficiency -- aided by Bogota's enthusiastic embrace of extradition. Read Full Story...

What I saw inside the Cali drug cartel By Jorge Salcedo

Editor's note: Jorge Salcedo is a former member of the Cali drug cartel, and his work with authorities helped destroy the organization. He was relocated to the U.S. along with his wife and children in 1995 and taken into the federal witness protection program. Salcedo's story is told in the book, "At the Devil's Table -- The Untold Story of the Insider Who Brought Down the Cali Cartel," by journalist William C. Rempel. Neither the author nor CNN know Mr. Salcedo's whereabouts or his new name. 

(CNN) -- Drug cartels, whether in Colombia or Mexico, cannot function without massive assistance from compromised officials at all levels. Corruption is the oxygen that keeps organized crime alive. Read Full Story...

Friday, January 13, 2012

Study Provides Clues About What Drives People to Abuse Alcohol | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Prescription Drug Abuse: America’s Problem | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Prescription Drug Abuse: America’s Problem | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

25 Arrested, $4.5 Million in Pot Plants Seized in Miami-Dade

Over two dozen arrests were made and hundreds of pot plants worth $4.5 million were seized in a series of marijuana grow house raids in Miami-Dade, authorities said Thursday. Read Full Story...

Sentencing today for South Florida pill mill kingpin




Friends and family are expected to surround pill mill mastermind Jeff George when he appears in federal court Friday morning to learn whether he will be spending the next 20 years in prison. Read Full Story...

Afghan opium prices soar as production rises

12 January 2012  - The full Afghan Opium Survey for 2011 points to a dramatic increase of 133 per cent in the farm-gate value of opium compared with 2010 (the summary findings of the survey were issued in September 2011).  Released today by the Ministry of Counter-Narcotics of Afghanistan and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the survey reveals that the farm-gate income generated by opium probably amounted to $1.4 billion, equivalent to 9 per cent of the GDP of Afghanistan in 2011. Read Full Story....

Mother's new little helper — Adderall

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Prescriptions for Oxycodone Jumped 82 Percent in New York State Over Three Years | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Prescriptions for Oxycodone Jumped 82 Percent in New York State Over Three Years | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Providing Incentives for Good Behavior Helps Cut Drug Use Among Parolees | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Providing Incentives for Good Behavior Helps Cut Drug Use Among Parolees | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Doctors Should Offer to Help All Smokers to Quit, Study Suggests | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Occasional Marijuana Smoking Not as Harmful to Lungs as Cigarettes, Study Suggests | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Occasional Marijuana Smoking Not as Harmful to Lungs as Cigarettes, Study Suggests | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

CNN - Americans binge drinking more

This is Your Brian on Drugs...


Woman Seeking Crack Cocaine Calls Police After Drug Dealer Sells Her Sugar Instead.

Really, how many times do we have to say this? If your drug dealer shorts you, steals your money, or provides a substance other than the illegal one sought, do not call 911. Suzanne Basham, 47, made that mistake yesterday morning when she dialed police in Springfield, Missouri to report that she had paid $40 for crack cocaine that turned out to be sugar. Basham, who was not seeking a sugar high, asked cops to arrest her dealer for theft (and, of course, secure a refund for her). While patrolmen went to the address where Basham said she purchased the crack, residents there denied selling dope and declined to let investigators into the home. Since cops discovered that Basham was in possession of a crack pipe, she was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia. She is pictured above in a mug shot snapped in October 2010 following a collar for drug possession.

Robbers Seeking Opioids and Other Drugs Rattle Pharmacists | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Robbers Seeking Opioids and Other Drugs Rattle Pharmacists | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Researchers Seek to Predict Stress-Induced Substance Abuse Relapse | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Researchers Seek to Predict Stress-Induced Substance Abuse Relapse | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Dr. Drew: Suicidal thoughts = medical emergency

This is a story about bullying. However, the issue at hand is "threats of suicide" and how to handle them - Important information.

Drug dog busts Snoop Dogg's bus

(CNN) -- Hip hop star Snoop Dogg faces a drug charge after border agents searched his tour bus along the same stretch of a west Texas highway where singer Willie Nelson was busted in 2010, a Texas sheriff said. Read Full Story...

Mother who left toddler son to pay drug debt to face judge

Deerfield Beach man accused of stealing $50K in jewelry from mother to feed drug habit

Broward County Public defender: Dismiss cases filmed for BSO reality show

Alcohol Ads Appeal to Teens Online, Expert Says | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Alcohol Ads Appeal to Teens Online, Expert Says | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Sunday, January 8, 2012

200 Million People Worldwide Use Illegal Drugs, Study Says | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

U.S. considers Venezuela's incoming defense chief a drug 'kingpin'

(CNN) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has tapped a leading general accused by the United States of being a drug "kingpin" to be the country's new defense minister. Read Full Story...

"Crack jacket" is not proper courtroom attire

Michael Douglas' Son Cameron Gets 4 1/2 More Years in Prison

At some point, people just have to learn their lesson. That day may have finally come for Cameron Douglas. Read Full Story...

Day of Reckoning! First of 13 doctors in pill mill case gets 5 years in prison

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

College students take ADHD drugs for better grades

(CNN) -- Jared Gabay is like many other college students. When he has a big test coming up, he turns to what's called a "study drug" for a little extra boost.

Read Full Story...

My Faithlessness: The atheist way through AA

"Anyone who cares to sober up, in other words, can give it a shot the 12-step way.  The official preamble Alcoholics Anonymous states: "The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.”
And millions of people want that and find a way to do it in this program. I’m one of them. I was, not to put too fine a point on it, a raging drunk. Now I’m not.
It wasn’t magic; it was brutally hard work to get from point A to B. I do believe I’d be dead without the help of the people and the structure of the steps in AA. But I don’t believe in God." Read Full Story...

Children becoming 'addicted' to computers

Former Delray official wants change in sober house rules

Former Delray official wants change in sober house rules

D.A.R.E. drug program disappearing from South Florida schools

D.A.R.E. drug program disappearing from South Florida schools

Laws About Involuntary Commitment for Substance Abuse Vary Widely Among States | The Partnership at Drugfree.org

Laws About Involuntary Commitment for Substance Abuse Vary Widely Among States | The Partnership at Drugfree.org