Just like the rest of the country, an increasing number of local families are being negatively affected by drug and alcohol addiction. Opioid addiction, in particular, has risen dramatically - as have the crimes, hospitalizations and deaths that come along with it. The Henderson County Attorneys Office seeks to assist all families affected by addiction - whether the situation has resulted in criminal charges or not. While we do have duties with regard to prosecution, we recognize that jail is not a substitute for real, meaningful addiction treatment and recovery.
History Behind the Law
One way that we assist families is through educating and guiding them about Casey’s Law - a method to obtain involuntary substance abuse treatment.
The Matthew Casey Wethington Act for Substance Abuse Intervention went into effect on July 13, 2004. This law was inspired by the death of Matthew Casey Wethington, who died of a heroin overdose at the age of 23. He suffered from addiction - a treatable disease that does not have to be fatal.
Casey’s Law allows parents, relatives, and/or friends to petition the court for treatment on behalf of the person who is abusing alcohol and/or drugs. It is highly recommended that you review all of the contents of this website and then call us at 270-827-5753 to make an appointment to meet with one of our attorneys who can help guide you through the process.
Steps for Casey’s Law Petitions
- Review our Casey’s Law Reference Page (PDF) and Casey’s Law Checklist (PDF) to familiarize yourself with the process and to find contact information for health professionals.
- Schedule appointments for evaluations with 2 qualified health professionals, one of whom must be a physician.
- File petition (700A) (PDF) - Petition is filed with the Circuit Court Clerk in the county of the person with the substance use disorder (respondent) by the spouse, relative, friend, or guardian (petitioner). The petitioner is obligated to pay all costs incurred in the process as well as all cost of treatment and must sign a guaranty of payment before the case begins.
- The court reviews the petition. If the court finds if there is probable cause that (1) the respondent suffers from alcohol or drug abuse, (2) the respondent presents an imminent threat of danger to self, family or others as a result of alcohol or drug abuse, or there exists a substantial likelihood of such a threat of danger in the near future, and (3) the respondent can reasonably benefit from treatment, the court will order that two evaluations be conducted and sets a court date within 14 days.
- The respondent will then undergo two evaluations (at least one of which must be a Medical Doctor). The qualified health professionals conducting the evaluation will fill out form 703A (PDF) and return it to the court within 24 hours of the evaluation.
- Treatment is ordered based on the evaluations and can be ordered from up to 60 and not more than 360 days, depending on the request of the petitioner and the results of the hearing.