Once one succumbs to the disease of addiction, their loved ones often wait on the sidelines, hoping their son, daughter, spouse, or friend will seek help, but this hopeful optimism is usually foiled due to the disease’s progression. The majority of addicts in the throes of their illness do not willingly seek help without intervention.
No matter how each person’s substance use began, two things hold true: no one ever expects to become addicted, and family members never imagine the challenges of getting professional help for their loved one. This is precisely what happened with Casey Wethington (LAW KRS 222.430 – 222.437).
Matthew “Casey” Wethington died at 23 years old from a heroin overdose.
Casey’s mother, Charlotte, explains their dilemma. “As a boy, he participated in a variety of sports such as soccer, baseball, basketball, and wrestling. He enjoyed collecting baseball cards, playing video games, playing the guitar, riding bikes, and skateboarding. All of that changed when he “didn’t know” what he liked to do to have fun anymore and turned to drugs.”1
“Casey never intended to become addicted to drugs when he used the first time. Casey’s early drug use caused his development to be obstructed and he was arrested around the age of 14 or 15. Regardless of that fact, and the fact that he suffered from an ultimately fatal disease, he was expected to respond as a normal, healthy young adult and choose treatment for himself. Parental intervention was discouraged and denied. Now it is too late for Casey, but because of him, there is hope for others who suffer from addiction.”1
Think There’s Nothing You Can Do?1
“That’s what we were told. The insurmountable obstacle that we faced with our son, Casey, was that he was 23 years old and had the “right” to choose whether or not he needed treatment. We lost Casey to a heroin overdose on August 19, 2002. We wanted more than anything to give him the ‘right’ to live a life in recovery. Casey’s life and death is the inspiration for his law that allows parents, relatives and/or friends to intervene in the substance use disorder of a loved one, regardless of age and without criminal charges.”1
Casey’s Law & Charlotte’s Journey
The Matthew Casey Wethington Act for Substance Abuse Intervention, KRS (Kentucky Revised Statute) 222.430 – 222.437 became a law on April 9, 2004. On July 13, 2004, the law became effective for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.1
Casey’s Law Kentucky Steps2
1. Contact your county attorney.
2. A full list of Kentucky county attorneys and circuit clerks can be found at kycaa.com/directory.
3. Schedule appointments for evaluations.
4. Schedule evaluations with two qualified health professionals, one of whom must be a physician.
5. File petition 700A.
6. Petition is filed with the circuit court clerk in the county of the person with the substance use disorder (respondent) by the spouse, relative, friend or guardian (petitioner). The court reviews the petition and, if there is probable cause, orders the two evaluations be conducted. Court date is set within 14 days.
7. You can download the petition and evaluation at www.caseyslaw.com.
8. Return evaluations.
9. Evaluations must be returned at least 24 hours prior to the court date.
10. Immediately after the court date is set, locate a detox and treatment facility. Petitioner bears the responsibility and right to choose the facility.
11. Treatment is ordered based on the evaluations and can be ordered from up to 60 and not more than 360 days, depending on the request of the petitioner and the results of the hearing.2
New Vista Works Directly with Casey’s Law Clients
New Vista provides free Casey’s Law evaluations. In some cases, it can take several attempts for individuals to break free from addiction, but getting help is necessary for effective long-term recovery. According to the Center for Disease Control, 88,000 people die of alcohol-related deaths and 70,000 from drug overdoses each year. There is a natural tendency to hide addiction but opening up and talking to someone else is the first step toward recovery. New Vista is a nonprofit organization that provides a comprehensive substance use recovery treatment including; a 28-day residential program, intensive outpatient program, medication assisted recovery, therapy, psychiatry, case management and peer support services. New Vista works directly with Casey’s Law clients to make sure they have a recovery plan.
About New Vista
New Vista is a Community Mental Health Center providing clinical services to nearly 25,000 adults, children, and families in 17 Central Kentucky counties. New Vista is a mission-driven nonprofit working with the communities to develop innovative programs to respond rapidly to both individual and community needs. If you are a loved one needs help with substance use services, please call our 24-Hour Helpline at 1.800.928.8000.
24-Hour Helpline 1.800.928.8000