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I need information on how to take over power of attorney of my mother and how to get the courts to force her into rehab.

Great Mills, MD |

she is an alcoholic and drug user. she has been in multiple car accidents because of this and is constantly doing illeagal things. she will die if i dont try something. i need help and no one else will help me.

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Attorney answers 3


There a 2 ways you can try to do this, and neither is easy or guaranteed. First, a note - having "power of attorney" won't accomplish anything - that is simple legal authority to act on someone's behalf - like signing a check, etc. You cannot force anyone into treatment that way. You can, first, try to get the state to involuntarily commit her to an institution, either mental or rehab, because she is a danger to herself or others. You will have to call the cops, make a valid claim that she is a danger, and go from there. The second option is to "sue" your mother and attempt to force a civil commitment. You'll have to provide expert testimoney as to why she is a danger to herself, etc. This is not cheap or easy. Frankly, just because you disagree with the bad choices someone makes does NOT mean they should be committed. It means they wish to make really bad choices, and sometimes there is nothing you can do about that.

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It appears you have a serious situation and are afraid of your mother hurting herself, and I feel for you. You should do something to help her and the others around her. There are legal paths to take in order to have her committed against her will, although obviously it is easier and better to get her to go on her own. POA is not really the way to go, You have to be resilient and have the commitment of all the family members, and have a showing to the court that she is a danger to herself and those around her. It appears you can already show that with the multiple accidents. It is not an easy task but if it is worth it to you to save her life, than I say go for it. If you wish to follow-up with more concerns, please do not hesitate.

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The Department of Human Services for St. Mary's County provides adult crisis counseling, and may be able to either intervene, or will provide you with referrals to a county agency that can help. Contact info is: Julie A. Ohman, B.A, Mental Health Coordinator, 301.475.4200 Ext. 1682 .
Another, and more extreme option, is to pay close attention to what your mother is doing and when she is doing it, e.g., possessing and/or using drugs, driving under the influence, and simply call the police and report it and get her arrested. If she is arrested and placed in jail, at least she will no longer be a danger to herself or others and can be ordered into rehab. If all else fails, this could save her life. Addicts who do not want to get clean, however, will fail rehab. Sometimes the experience and future threat of jail will be all the motivation a person needs (and bring them to the proverbial "rock bottom" that many addicts need to reach before seriously addressing their problems). This is an extreme option, however, and you need to decide for yourself whether other forms of intervention will work better in your circumstances. Start with the county crisis center.