When Washington’s Ricky Garcia was in his 20s, he had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, marijuana and heroin that led to repeated hospitalizations. As is often the case with substance abuse, his mental health was also suffering. Eventually, he sought voluntary addiction treatment, but others in Washington need more help to get healthy. That’s the inspiration for Ricky’s Law.
“When people have mental health or substance use issues they’re not fully in control of themselves and don’t always have the capacity to make sound choices. That’s why involuntary treatment is so important — and often lifesaving. Ricky’s Law allows those who are at-risk to get the necessary care to protect them and the wider community,” says Starsha McLennan, a Personal Injury and Wrongful Death paralegal with Iddins Law Group in Kent.
Involuntary treatment lasts for 72 to 120 hours, giving individuals in crisis enough time to stabilize safely with access to treatment resources. After that, they can choose to continue treatment or leave the program.
“Ricky’s Law is still fairly new, so it’s still seeing revisions,” McLennan says. Previous laws only included mental health issues, not substance use, and the treatment period was extended because wait times for designated responders were so high.
Personal injury and wrongful death: Know your rights
As a Personal Injury and Wrongful Death paralegal at Iddins Law Group, McLennan has helped with a few cases involving Ricky’s Law.
“When first responders encounter a subject in crisis, they’re supposed to create a referral so the subject can be contacted by a designated responder. But if that referral isn’t created, the consequences can be tragic.”
The experienced and compassionate staff at Iddins Law can help families pursue justice for a lost loved one, and is also experienced in probate, making the legal process less complicated. They offer no-cost 15 minute phone consultations to help potential clients determine if they have a case, and what to do next.
For those with living loved ones currently struggling with mental health or substance use issues, Joel’s Law allows loved ones to petition the court for involuntary detention of a family member.
“There are several ways to go about getting help for someone you love. Whether there’s a pattern of behavior or this is the first time a loved one is in crisis, it’s important to act. It’s scary, but help is available.”
Call 253-854-1244 or visit iddinslaw.com/contact-us to request a complimentary phone consultation. While Iddins Law offers many services at a flat rate fee, in contingency-based personal injury and wrongful death cases, there are no charges unless a settlement is reached. Learn more at iddinslaw.com or on Facebook and Twitter.