Drug treatment centers utilize stringent practices that are designed to safeguard the privacy of patients enrolled in their care. They generally are not permitted by law to share information about you with anyone during the time you are in treatment even if you check yourself out against medical advice or AMA.
However, many centers allow for exceptions to their privacy practices. The one in which you enroll may report you to police if you leave early during any of these circumstances.
Suspicion of or Intent to Self-harm
If you check yourself out early because you express a desire to harm yourself, you can expect to be reported to the local law enforcement agency. Recovery centers have an obligation under the law to protect patients from harming themselves. If the center into which you have checked yourself allows you to leave early without reporting you, it could be held liable if you purposely hurt yourself or commit suicide.
Staff assigned to your care during your stay will monitor you for self-harming behaviors.
If they observe any of these behaviors, they could deem you to be suicidal. Should you check yourself out of the facility before these behaviors are addressed and treated, you could be reported to the police for your own safety.
Intent to Harm Someone Else
You also may be reported to the police if you leave early if you express a desire to harm someone else. Perhaps you are angry at a former romantic partner or a relative. If you say you plan on hurting this individual once you are released from treatment, you could have your stay extended until you are deemed psychologically fit to be discharged.
However, if you take it upon yourself to leave AMA, the center’s staff are legally obligated to inform law enforcement about your expressed desire to harm someone else. If you carry through on your threats, the staff can be held liable by the victim’s family. To exonerate themselves, they are required by law to report you to the police if you leave early because of an expressed wish to hurt someone.
Participation in Crime
A recovery center also must report you to the police if you leave early in order to take part in criminal activities. If you are a known drug dealer, for example, or have a record of committing crimes while high or drunk, you will be reported to the police if you leave the rehab center before you are officially discharged.
The team assigned to your care also will report you if they overhear you talk about your plans to resume criminal activities once you leave the facility. They cannot in good faith allow you to leave with the knowledge that you will participate in illicit activities. They are required by law to notify police of your intentions if you leave the facility early and are not yet deemed mentally or emotionally stable enough to go home.
Abuse or Neglect of a Child
Finally, the recovery center in charge of your care must report you to police if you could potentially abuse or neglect a child. During your stay in rehab, you will be given resources to help you become a better parent or caretaker if needed. If the staff know you have abused or neglected a child in the past, you could be deemed a risk factor to him or her if you leave the facility early.
By law, the medical team in charge of helping you cannot allow you to present a threat to your children or any children in your care at home. You must be complete treatment and agree to resources ranging from parenting class to supervised visitation before you will be allowed to resume your normal life. Failing to complete these treatments could put you in jeopardy of being reported to the police.
Doctors, nurses, therapists, and others who work at rehab centers are required by law to protect you and the public you may encounter after you are discharged. You cannot expect to be released to go home before you successfully complete treatment.
If you leave early, you may be reported to law enforcement in certain circumstances. These events are exceptions to the privacy practices that most rehab facilities have in place. Call one of our counselors today at 844-639-8371.