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  • NJ A1099
  • Provides for involuntary commitment to treatment for substance use disorders.
Introduced
(1/27/2016)
In Committee
(1/27/2016)
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill provides for involuntary commitment to treatment for a substance use disorder at residential substance use disorders treatment facilities, under the same standards provided in P.L.1987, c.116 (C.30:4-27.1 et seq.) for persons who are in need of involuntary commitment because of a mental illness. Applying this standard, the bill would provide for involuntary commitment to a residential substance use disorders treatment facility if a person has a substance use disorder that causes the person to be dangerous to self, others, or property in the reasonably foreseeable future, is unwilling to accept appropriate treatment voluntarily after it has been offered, and needs care at the facility because other services are not appropriate or available to meet the person's treatment needs. The bill defines the term "substance use disorder" as it is defined in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The term includes, but is not limited to, alcohol, cannabis, hallucinogens, inhalants, opioids, sedatives, and stimulants. The bill expands the current law concerning mental health screening services to provide for these services to offer assessments to determine which services for substance use disorders are appropriate for a person and where those services may be most appropriately provided. The screening services are to provide emergency and consensual treatment to the person receiving the assessment, and may transport or detain the person up to 24 hours for providing the treatment and assessment. Screeners are to gather information about the person's history and available services for a person with a substance use disorder. If a psychiatrist concludes that the person is in need of involuntary commitment to treatment for a substance use disorder, the psychiatrist completes a "screening certificate," which is one of the documents needed to submit to a court to initiate court proceedings for involuntary commitment. Screeners are also permitted to make "screening outreach visits" if, based on clinically relevant information, the person may need involuntary commitment but is unwilling to come to the screening service for assessment. Additionally, law enforcement officers are authorized to take custody of, and bring a person to, a screening service based on criteria enumerated in the bill. The officers, screening service staff, and their employers are provided with immunity from civil and criminal liability. The bill provides the same procedural protections available under current law governing involuntary commitment for a mental illness. A person may be involuntarily admitted to a residential substance use disorders treatment facility only by referral from a screening service or by temporary court order. The facility may detain involuntarily admitted persons by referral from a screening service, without a court order, for no more than 72 hours from when the screening certificate was executed. Court proceedings for involuntary commitment are initiated by submitting to the court the screening certificate and a "clinical certificate," which is to be executed by a psychiatrist on the patient's treatment team. If not referred by a screening service, involuntary commitment may be initiated by submitting two clinical certificates, at least one of which is prepared by a psychiatrist. A person who is a relative, or any other person who signs a clinical certificate for a motive other than care, treatment, and confinement of the person would be guilty of a crime of the fourth degree. The bill provides certain patient rights which include: having examinations provided in the primary means of communication of the person or the aid of an interpreter; receiving verbal explanations of the reason for admission; and the right to be represented by an attorney. Within 20 days of initial commitment, the person is entitled to a court hearing, which is to be transcribed. At this hearing, if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the patient needs continued involuntary commitment to treatment for a substance use disorder, it is to issue an order authorizing the commitment. Additionally, if the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the patient needs continued involuntary commitment to treatment for a substance use disorder and has a co-occurring mental illness, the court is to issue an order authorizing the involuntary commitment of the patient pursuant to the law governing civil commitment for mental illness. If the court finds the patient does not need continued involuntary commitment, the court would so order and a patient is to be discharged, with a discharge plan, within 48 hours of the court's verbal order or by the end of the next working day. At least 10 days prior to a hearing, notice is to be provided to the patient, the patient's guardian if any, the patient's next-of-kin, the patient's attorney, the chief executive officer or other individual who has custody of the patient, and any other individual specified by the court. A committed patient is to be provided with periodic court reviews of the need for involuntary commitment. The court is to conduct the first review hearing 30 days from the date of the first hearing, and every 30 days thereafter. Additional review hearings may be scheduled but, except in extraordinary circumstances, not more often than once every 21 days. The bill also provides for administrative and conditional discharges from commitment. A treatment team at a residential substance use disorders treatment facility is to administratively discharge a patient if the team determines the patient no longer needs commitment. A discharge plan is to be developed, and the patient is to have the opportunity to participate in its development. A facility licensed to provide substance use disorder treatment on an outpatient basis is also designated to participate in developing the plan, and the designated facility is to provide follow-up care to the patient. Lastly, the court may discharge a patient subject to conditions if the court finds that: the patient's history indicates a high risk of repeated admissions due to failure to comply with discharge plans; or there is a substantial likelihood that by reason of a substance use disorder the patient will be dangerous to self, others, or property if the patient does not receive other services that render involuntary commitment to treatment unnecessary.
Human Services
Introduced, Referred to Assembly Human Services Committee  (on 1/27/2016)
 
 

Date Chamber Action Description
1/27/2016 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Human Services Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
None specified