Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Pa Der Vang


Social Work


Previous studies have identified various controversy surrounding coerced treatment of individuals with a severe substance use disorders. Individuals suffering from significant clinical and functional impairments, including major medical issues, disability, and failure to meet societal responsibilities are at risk for judicial intervention via involuntary civil commitment. The purpose of this study is to investigate the use of involuntary civil commitment with those experiencing a severe substance use disorder. The principal researcher interviewed seven participants who actively provide service to individuals diagnosed with a severe substance use disorder under an involuntary civil commitment. The interviews were analyzed and coded. Initial themes emerged among all participants. Themes that were recognized among participants included dangerousness, social responsibility, provider perspective, and process improvement. These identified themes revealed a better understanding of this judicial process and its impact on sobriety for individuals with severe substance issues. The data also revealed potential recommendations for professionals, such as social workers, to better support this population who require or are at risk of coerced intervention in attempt to prevent further deterioration or eventual death. Implications for social work practice are discussed, as are suggestions for future research.

Included in

Social Work Commons