Casey’s law is the common name given to involuntary treatment of persons suffering from alcohol and drug abuse in Kentucky. Casey’s Law provides a means of intervention with someone who is unable to recognize his or her need for treatment due to their addiction. Casey’s Law allows parents, relatives, and/or friends (called a “petitioner”) to petition the court for treatment on behalf of the person who is abusing alcohol and/or drugs (called a “respondent”). The treatment options available under the law can vary depending on circumstances of each individual case. The petitioner must sign a guaranty of payment, as they are obligated to pay all costs incurred in the process as well as the cost of treatment. Costs incurred can be extensive, something that the petitioner should be aware of before signing the guaranty of payment.
Under Casey’s Law, a person suffering from drug or alcohol abuse, known as the respondent, if the court finds:
- The respondent suffers from alcohol or drug abuse;
- The respondent presents an imminent threat of danger to their 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,
- The respondent will reasonably benefit from the treatment.
Casey’s Law proceedings are civil in nature, and the purpose is to assist the respondent with getting help. It is important to know that it can take up to two weeks to get the respondent into treatment.
If you need assistance during this process, please contact the Warren County Attorney’s Office at 270-782-2760.
How to Seek Involuntary Treatment
- A spouse, relative, friend or guardian may file a petition with the County Attorney. Complete Verified Petition for 60/360 Day Involuntary Treatment (Substance Use Disorder). This petition can be used for a 72-hour hold, 60 day treatment, or 360 day treatment. You will need the following information:
- Petitioner’s relationship to respondent
- Respondent’s name, residence, and current location, if known
- Name and residence of respondent’s parents, if living and if known, or respondent’s legal guardian, if any and if known
- Name and residence of respondent’s spouse, if any and if known
- Name and residence of the person having custody of the respondent, if any, or if no person is known, the name and residence of a near relative or that the person is unknown; and
- Petitioner’s belief, including the factual basis therefor, that the respondent is suffering from an alcohol or other drug disorder and presents a danger or threat of danger to self, family, or others if not treated for substance use disorder
- File the petition with the Warren Circuit Clerk’s Office at the Warren County Justice Center, First Floor.
- While filing the petition, petitioner must provide the Clerk with the names of a physician and one qualified mental health professional to evaluate the respondent. A qualified health professional can include a mental health professional, alcohol and drug counselor, or physician.
- The petitioner must make the appointments. The County Attorney’s Office cannot do this for you.
- The Court will give a copy of the petition to the petitioner and will mail a copy to the respondent. The Sheriff will also serve the respondent with the petition as well.
- After the Court reviews the allegations in the petition, the Court will examine the petitioner under oath to determine whether there is probable cause to believe the respondent presents a danger to self or others as a result of alcohol or drug abuse. If probable cause is established, the Court will order the Respondent to be evaluated by the named qualified health professionals and set the matter for a hearing within fourteen (14) days.
- Respondent must be examined by the health professionals at least 24 hours prior to hearing date. Each will either file a report with the district court clerk or give report to the petitioner to file with the district court clerk at least 24 hours prior to the hearing date.
- The Court will hold a hearing after evaluations to determine if the Respondent should undergo treatment. The Court may order treatment from sixty (60) days or up to three hundred sixty (360) days, depending upon the request in the petition, the result of the hearing and opinions of the treating professionals.
- The Petitioner is responsible for obtaining treatment services and transporting the Respondent to the treatment facility.
Checklist for Casey's Law Petitions
- Make appointments with one physician and one qualified health professional about 2 weeks out who will evaluate the respondent.
- Fill out the AOC 700A and return to the County Attorneys’ Office. Make sure that we have a good phone number where we can contact you.
- The Warren Circuit Clerk’s Office will let you know when the first hearing will be when you file the petition. It will usually be about two days from the time you turn in the petition, but weekends may delay that hearing. You must be present at this hearing or the case will be dismissed and the judge may hold you in contempt for not appearing.
- After the first hearing, the respondent must comply with the evaluations.
- Make sure that the medical professionals know to return the evaluation forms immediately to the Warren Circuit Court Clerk’s Office OR the Warren County Attorney’s Office.
Alcohol and Drug Treatment Providers
The County Attorney’s Office has compiled the following list of alcohol and drug treatment providers in this area for those filing Casey law petitions for involuntary treatment on the basis of alcohol and drug abuse. This list is not all inclusive and should not be considered a referral to any particular program. More information and additional providers can be found through an online search of the Kentucky Provider Directory at http://dbhdid.ky.gov/ProviderDirectory/ProviderDirectory.aspx. More facilities may also be located through websites such as addicted.org. Bed availability in Kentucky treatment facilities can be located at findhelpnowky.org.
Stepworks of Bowling Green
331 Brookwood Drive
Bowling Green, KY 42101
LifeSkills, Inc – Park Place Recovery Center
822 Woodway Drive
Bowling Green, KY 42101
Addiction Recovery Centers (ARC)
322 River Bend Road
Louisa, KY 41230
Multiple Locations Available
2349 Russellville Road
Bowling Green, KY 42101
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Casey’s Law?
The Matthew Casey Wethington Act for Substance Abuse Intervention is found at KRS 222.430 through 222.437. It permits the District Court to order people to undergo drug treatment against their will for people who meet certain criteria.
What are the criteria for involuntary treatment?
For the Court to order involuntary treatment, it must find that the person:
- The respondent suffers from alcohol or drug abuse;
- 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
- The respondent can reasonably benefit from treatment. (KRS 222.431).
How does the process work?
- See above.
What if the Respondent refuses to go to the evaluations?
If the Respondent refuses to go to their appointments, the Court will issue a summons requiring the Respondent to go to the examinations. If they do not, the Court will issue an order for the sheriff or police to transport the Respondent for the evaluations.
How long will the process take?
The Respondent will not be put into treatment immediately. Once the Petition is filed, the Court must first hold a hearing with the Petitioner. That hearing will usually be scheduled within one or two days of filing. After the first hearing, the Respondent must then be evaluated by a physician and a Qualified Mental Health Professional who will submit reports to the Court. After those reports are received, a second hearing will be held within 14 days of the first. Only after the Court has the second hearing can treatment be ordered. Therefore, the process usually takes about two weeks to complete.
The Petitioner is responsible for all costs incurred in the process as well as for treatment of the Respondent. They must sign a guarantee for payment as part of the petition. If the Respondent has insurance, insurance may pay for part of the treatment. But if it does not, the Petitioner is required to pay whatever is not covered by insurance.
Who makes the Doctor Appointments?
The Petitioner must make the appointments with the doctor. You must have the appointments made before the petition can be filed.
What forms does the doctor fill out?
The doctor and Qualified Health Professional will fill out reports sent to them (AOC-703A).
You can take these reports with you to the appointment or they can be sent by the court. The reports must get into the Court’s file.
How do the forms get into the Court’s file?
The reports from the health providers need to get into the Court’s file. The health provider can send them directly to the Court via the Warren Circuit Court Clerk’s Office or return them to the County Attorney’s Office who will file them with the Court.
What if the Respondent will not go to the appointments?
If you have tried to get the Respondent to go to the appointments and he or she will not voluntarily go, contact the County Attorney’s Office. A summons will be issued to require the Respondent to go to the appointments. If the Respondent still does not go, the Court will order the sheriff or other law enforcement to transport the Respondent. The Petitioner is responsible for the costs of transport.
Why won’t the police just pick them up and take them to treatment?
The law does not permit the police to take a drug abuser into custody. In fact, Casey’s Law prohibits putting drug abusers in jail simply for their abuse.
What if the Petitioner changes their mind about payment?
The petitioner cannot change their mind or stop payment. Once the process is started, it cannot be stopped without a Court Order. If the Petitioner fails to follow through on their obligations, they can be exposed to a lawsuit for payment of costs or other court proceedings, potentially including contempt of court, which could lead to jail time.