16 Dev. Mental Health L. 1 (1996)

handle is hein.journals/dvmnhlt16 and id is 1 raw text is: Developments in
Mental Health Law
The Institute of Law, Psychiatry and Public Policy-The University of Virginia
Volume 16, Number 1                                                  January-June 1996
A Survey of Statutes Allowing Involuntary Commitment
for Drug and Alcohol Dependent Persons
by John H. Kitzmann
Several years have passed since a thorough survey of statutes allowing involuntary commitment for
drug and alcohol dependent (DAD) persons has been published. The aim of this article is to provide a
current overview ofthat body of law. Although laws from all fifty states were reviewed, this article con-
centrates on statutes that provide for involuntary detention and treatment of DAD persons apart from
general civil commitment regimens for the mentally ill.
The article addresses the substantive criteria and procedures for commitment as well as protections
afforded the drug or alcohol dependent person. Special emphasis is placed on the lack of procedural
safeguards limiting the immediate, short term detention of persons where the basis for detention is an
observation by fellow citizens or police officers.
Historical Perspective on Civil Commitment of Alcohol and Drug Users
Statutes allowing the commitment of alcohol and drug users    Also in this issue:
are not a recent invention. In 1914, New York law allowed that
upon complaint to a magistrate and after due notice and hearing,  Federal Courts ............... 4
the magistrate shall, if the person is found to be addicted to the
use of a habit-forming drug, commit such person to a state,  Virginia Courts...........10
county or city hospital.' People v. City ofBuffalo, a case that  Other State Courts .......... 13
discussed the 1914 law, outlined the variety of laws existing at the
time in New York providing some form of commitment for drug  Book Review ............... 20
or alcohol users. The laws included a General Municipal Law
that established a hospital and colony for inebriates, an Insanity
John Kitzmann will receive his J. D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in December, 1996.

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