How to File Casey's Law in Kentucky - PAX Riverbend Rehab Center

What is Casey’s Law in Kentucky?

woman filing casey's law in kentucky

Casey’s Law enables family members in Kentucky to legally have an addicted family member court-ordered to attend a substance abuse treatment program. Under Casey’s Law, family members can file paperwork that requires the addict to enter a drug and/or alcohol rehab program in Kentucky or they will be taken to jail until they agree.

Casey’s Law was created under the Matthew Casey Wethington Act for Substance Abuse Intervention. This law was enacted in Kentucky in 2004 and was inspired by Casey Wethington’s fatal heroin overdose. In 2002, Casey passed away at the young age of 23 after falling into a heroin-induced coma. Like many other families watching addiction destroy the lives of their most precious loved ones, Casey’s family was convinced that once he hit rock bottom he’d surely enter rehab. However, this was not the case. He refused treatment and ultimately lost his life at the hands of his heroin addiction.

Granting parents, relatives, or friends the option to lawfully intervene and request involuntary, court-ordered addiction treatment in Kentucky, Casey’s Law gives loved ones a path to offer the gift of recovery to their addicted loved ones.

How Does Casey’s Law Work?

If you are seeking to invoke Casey’s Law on your addicted loved one and have them enter rehab in Kentucky, you may want to consider filing the paperwork. Casey’s Law was created to be lawfully enacted by parents, relatives, or friends of an individual who is unable to realize the dire need for substance abuse treatment.

Like many other relatives and friends, you may find yourself overwhelmed by the process of confronting your loved one’s addiction but you can certainly take it one step at a time. Casey’s Law was created specifically for family members like you and it can actually save your loved one’s life.

Here is a step-by-step instructional guide to how to file Casey’s Law in Kentucky:

  • Obtain a copy of the petition from the District Court Clerk’s office or visit here.
  • Fill out the petition on behalf of your loved one and file it with the District Court.
  • Next, the court will review your claims made in the petition and will question you under oath regarding the mental and physical state of your addicted loved one.
  • Following the questioning, the court will determine if there is probable cause to court-order addiction treatment in Kentucky for your loved one.
  • If the courts find probable cause, a judge will appoint an attorney to represent your loved one, require an evaluation, and schedule a hearing within 14 days.
  • Next, your loved one will be notified of the date and purpose of the hearing.
  • Your loved one will then be evaluated by two qualified health professionals to determine the need for treatment.
  • Once the evaluations are completed, the court will order addiction treatment in Kentucky from anywhere between 60-360 days. The level of treatment can range from detoxification to intensive treatment.

Following the court order, the court will work with you and your addicted loved one to select a treatment center that suits your price range, work with your insurance company, and it is common they will also arrange pickup and transportation with the rehab facility.

What Happens if My Loved One Refuses to Follow Casey’s Law?

Failure to comply with a court order under Casey’s Law will result in contempt of court, but will not open a criminal record for your loved one. The goal of this law is to support rehabilitation, not make it more difficult. The court will hold your loved one in jail until they commit to treatment. Furthermore, if your loved one leaves treatment prior to completion, law enforcement will be notified and has the ability to track them down and return them to the rehab facility they were ordered to attend.

Under Casey’s Law, you have the ability to file more than once. If your addicted loved one relapses and becomes a threat to their own safety, you have the option to re-file the petition. Keep in mind that it is important for you to write down all of the instances that your loved one seems unfit to make their own decisions. Additional pages or accounts from others who have witnessed their dangerous behaviors are also beneficial. The goal is to prove that your loved one is a danger to themselves or others as a direct result of their addiction. Proof of these situations will give the judge probable cause to invoke Casey’s Law.

Does Court-Mandated Rehab Work?

Many people believe the myth that involuntary rehab is ineffective. The truth is, most alcoholics and addicts are resistant to getting help at first but wind up being receptive during treatment. Each individual begins the addiction recovery process at different stages of acceptance and willingness. While Casey’s Law may seem harsh, this law gives addicts and alcoholics a fighting chance in spite of their addiction preventing them from making healthy decisions for themselves.

Court-mandated or involuntary rehab should only be considered as a last resort once all other options have been exhausted. If your loved one is a direct threat to their own health or others, then court-mandated rehab may be the answer. Or, if you simply can’t convince your loved one to go to treatment, you may petition for Casey’s Law. The first step with Casey’s Law is to find your court and choose the most appropriate treatment center near you.

If you are ready to find quality substance abuse treatment for your addicted loved one, PAX Riverbend has an alcohol and drug rehabilitation facility in the nearby Kentucky area. No matter the county you reside in, residents from across the country attend treatment at Pax Riverbend utilizing Casey’s Law.

Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019

Dr Ashley

Medical Reviewer

Chief Editor


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Dr Ashley Murray obtained her MBBCh Cum Laude in 2016. She currently practices in the public domain in South Africa. She has an interest in medical writing and has a keen interest in evidence-based medicine.

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.