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Care of substance abusers

The administrative court can decide that a substance abuser should receive care even though the individual involved does not want to. The substance abuser can then be put under an order for care according to LVM (the Care of Abusers (Special Provisions) Act).

The aim of this is to discontinue a life-threatening substance abuse of, for example, alcohol or narcotics, and to motivate the person towards treatment through voluntary forms.

The preconditions for care under LVM are that a person who, owing to abuse of, for instance, alcohol or narcotics, needs care in order to break free from her/his abuse. It is consequently required that the care cannot be effected in a voluntary way and that the individual as a consequence of the abuse is exposing her/himself to dangerous risk and is running a manifest risk of destroying her/his life or seriously harming her/himself or closely-related persons.

An 'LVM Report' will form the basis for taking into care under LVM. This report can be made to the municipal social services by, for example, the abuser's physician, social welfare officer or some relative. The social services will then conduct a study and, if it transpires that the person needs care under LVM, a request will then be forwarded to the administrative court. It is then the administrative court that decides on compulsory care.

The trial

The court calls all parties affected to a verbal hearing. There will usually be one legally qualified judge and three lay judges to adjudicate. The majority of hearings at courts in Sweden are public, but in cases concerning compulsory care it is common for the court to decide on so-called 'closed doors' (in camera). This means that the public and others who are not directly personally affected may not be present in the courtroom.

Read more under the menu 'Legal proceedings/Public authority decisions'.

Public counsel

If the question of the compulsory taking into care of a substance abuser arises, the individual concerned may be allocated so-called 'public counsel'. The court grants public counsel, who will protect the substance abuser.s interests in the case. Read more under the menu 'Legal assistance' or contact the court if you want to find out more.

What form does the care take?

The municipal social welfare committee decides how the care should be arranged and where the substance abuser should live during the period of care. A person who has been ordered to undergo compulsory care will receive care at a home that is specially set up to provide care under LVM (a so-called 'LVM home'). The National Board of Institutional Care grants a person a place at an LVM home following application by the social welfare committee. 

A stay at an LVM home will continue for at most six months and must, as soon as possible, transfer to a more open form. The stay often begins with detoxification and a study of the abuser's problems and needs. This study can include discussions with psychologists, skills test, social and psychiatric examination and will lead to an individual treatment plan. 

When possible, a person who is taken into compulsory care will be given an opportunity to stay outside the LVM home for care in another form. The care manager at the LVM home will decide about such care.

In some cases, this care can be commenced at a hospital. The social welfare committee will decide whether the abuser needs care at a hospital to start with.

Read more about the care of substance abusers and about LVM homes on Statens institutionsstyrelses webbplats (the National Board of Institutional Care website, link opened in new window).

How do I appeal?

A decision by the administrative court on compulsory care can be appealed against to the administrative court of appeal. No leave to appeal is required for the administrative court of appeal to entertain such an appeal.

It will state in the decision of the administrative court within what time and to which administrative court of appeal you should appeal. You should state in the appeal, what you are dissatisfied with in the administrative court's judgment and the way in which you want it to be changed. You should always send the appeal to the administrative court that issued the judgment.

Senast ändrad: 2019-01-02