For Family and Friends

For Family and Friends

Support Groups

While there is an array of supports offered, both through Pathways Florida and through community resources, for the individual struggling with addiction and behavioral health challenges, there are also supports for the loved ones of those struggling. The whole family suffers as a result of addiction and it is important that the entire family receive support and services.

Al-Anon/Alateen is a support group for relatives and friends of alcohols where people can come and share their stories, have fellowship and gain support and comfort from others who are struggling with similar experiences.

Nar-Anon is a 12 Step fellowship support group for families and friends of addicts who lives have been or are being affected by someone else’s addiction.

Celebrate Recovery is a biblically based program that helps people overcome hurts, hang-ups and habits.

Marchman Act/Baker Act

Marchman Act

According to, the Hal S. Marchman Alcohol and Other Drug Services Act of 1993, or more commonly referred to as the Marchman Act, provides for emergency assistance and temporary detention for individuals requiring substance abuse evaluation and treatment in the state of Florida. When properly applied to a well-balanced, long-term plan, the Marchman Act has the potential to help an individual reach a healthy bottom by putting into place a court-ordered framework to help support their recovery.

The Marchman Act is initiated by filing a petition for involuntary assessment in the county court where the impaired individual resides. The petition must be filed in good faith by a person recognized by the court to do so. The petitioner must have reason to believe, and/or direct knowledge that an individual has lost the power of self-control with regard to substance abuse and that there exists the likelihood that the individual has the potential to inflict harm upon themselves or others unless they get help. Furthermore, it must also be demonstrated that the impaired individual is without the capacity to make rational decisions with regard to appreciating the need for treatment.

Once all relevant testimony has been heard by the court, it may enter an order for involuntary assessment to assess and stabilize the impaired individual for a period not to exceed five days. The findings of that assessment are then reviewed with the court which may then enter an order for involuntary treatment for a period not to exceed 60 days.

Filing the Marchman Act is a fairly simple process. The clerk at your local county court will provide you a packet to complete in which you will be asked to detail your observations regarding the severity of the symptoms that you have witnessed. Once the packet is all filled out, the clerk of the court will present your completed petition to the magistrate in charge of signing the order. Once the order is signed, it may then be sent to the county sheriff to actually enforce the order by bringing the impaired individual to an assessment center. These centers are called Addictions Receiving Facilities, and First Step of Sarasota, Inc. is the Addiction Receiving Facility for Sarasota County, Florida.

Baker Act

According to, The Baker Act is a Florida law that enables families and loved ones to provide emergency mental health services and temporary detention for people who are impaired because of their mental illness, and who are unable to determine their needs for treatment. The Act was named after Maxine Baker, former Miami State representative who sponsored the Act in 1972. People who require the use of the Baker Act have often lost the power o self-control, and they are likely to inflict harm to themselves or others. It is important that the Baker Act only be used in situations where the person has a mental illness and meets all the remaining criteria for voluntary or involuntary admission.


The recent increase in opiate use has unfortunately resulted in a higher number of overdose victims. There is a medication available called naloxone that can be used if someone is experiencing an overdose. The availability of this medication is essential knowledge for the loved ones of an individual who is using opioids.

According to, naloxone is a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose. It is an opioid antagonist – meaning that it binds to opioid receptors and can reverse and block the effects of other opioids. It can very quickly restore normal respiration to a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped as a result of overdosing with heroin or prescription opioid pain medications.

There are three FDA-approved formulations of naloxone: injectable (professional training required), autoinjectable, and prepackaged nasal spray. Autoinjectable is a prefilled auto-injection device that makes it easy for families or emergency personnel to inject naloxone quickly into the outer thigh. Once activated, the device provides verbal instruction to the user describing how to deliver the medication, similar to automated defibrillators. Nasal spray is a prefilled, needle-free device that requires no assembly and is sprayed into one nostril while patients lay on their back.

In 2016, Gov. Rick Scott of Florida signed into law a measure that allows pharmacists to dispense naloxone without a physician’s prescription. Contact your local pharmacy for more information regarding naloxone availability.