If you have a family member who is addicted to harmful substances, he or she will likely benefit from getting into a drug treatment center. But not everyone recognizes their addiction or is willing to go to rehab to treat it.

So does this mean you should give up on the idea of your loved one going to a drug treatment center? Not necessarily. You may be able to get treatment for him or her anyway.

Keep in mind that the success rates of people who willingly enter treatment are similar to those who are forced to go, so it could be worth it to request that your family member go. Before you try it, take a look at how to get someone into rehab against their will.

Prepare Ahead of Time

You don’t want to spring the idea of rehab on your loved one at a bad time, or it won’t go well. This is why it’s important to plan ahead of time so you know what to say and how to say it. To start, make sure your loved one is sober when you advise him or her to go to rehab.

You should also avoid starting this conversation when he or she is emotional or upset. Try to wait until you both have a calm moment to sit down and talk. Once you do, remember the following:

  • Avoid being angry or accusatory toward your family member.
  • Speak with compassion and care to show you have his or her best interests at heart.
  • Be specific about how the addiction has affected their life, such as which hobbies or friends they’ve lost.
  • Be specific about how the addiction has affected the lives around them, such as friends who have been hurt by their words or actions while on drugs.

You might choose to sit down with your loved one alone to have this discussion. But if you want more support for him or her, you could arrange for an intervention with friends and family members who will all discuss the negative effects of the drug addiction.

In some cases, an intervention is enough to convince someone to enter a drug treatment center right away. But in other cases, it’s not. So if you can’t persuade your loved one to do it on their own, you might need to think about forcing them into rehab against their will.

Research Drug Treatment Centers

Before you can get someone into rehab against their will, you need to have a good idea of where he or she will go. First, get to know the types of treatment centers. They include:

Inpatient treatment: With this type of rehab, patients live at the treatment center—typically for about 30 days—receiving regular therapy and care from medical professionals.

Outpatient treatment: This is when patients live at home, but regularly go to the treatment center to attend therapy sessions, drug screenings, and appointments with medical staff.

Residential treatment: This is when patients get intensive, structured care 24 hours a day, typically for 6 to 12 months at a time.

As you consider the types of treatment centers, consider calling or visiting their websites. You can even visit one to schedule a tour or at least pick up brochures to give your loved one. At that point, you’ll be ready to either convince or request that he or she go to rehab.

Know the Involuntary Commitment Laws

If you end up having to force your loved one to get help for a drug problem, note that most states have involuntary commitment laws that let you do so. In particular, 37 states—plus Washington, D.C.—let you get someone into rehab against their will.

Of course, you have to meet some requirements first. In most cases, this involves proving they’re a danger to themselves or others. In addition, you typically have to be a close family member, such as a spouse, sibling, or parent—though doctors, police officers, and court officials can also request treatment for someone.

If you’re ready to get help for a family member, it’s important to contact a treatment center you can trust.


  1. Intervention: Help a loved one overcome addiction. (2017, July 20).
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). Types of Treatment Programs.
  3. Radcliffe, S. (n.d.). Drug Addicts and Forced Rehab?

We would love your feedback.

Was this article helpful?

Treatment Questions? Call 24/7.

(855) 265-2123