Casey Law Petition

Casey’s law is the common name given to involuntary treatment of persons suffering from alcohol and drug abuse in Kentucky. Casey’s Law provides a means of intervention with someone who is unable to recognize his or her needs for treatment due to their addiction. Casey’s Law allows parents, relatives, and/or friends to petition the court (called a “petitioner”) for treatment on behalf of the person who is abusing alcohol and/or drugs (called a “respondent”). The treatment options available under the law can vary depending on circumstances of each individual case. The person seeking the involuntary treatment is obligated to pay all costs incurred in the process as well as all cost of treatment and must sign a guaranty of payment before the case begins. Costs incurred can be extensive, something the person seeking involuntary treatment should be aware of before signing the guaranty of payment.  Once the process begins, the petitioner cannot change their mind and the process cannot be stopped without a court order.

Under Casey’s law, a person suffering from drug or alcohol abuse will be ordered to undergo involuntary treatment if the Court finds:

  1. The respondent suffers from alcohol or drug abuse;
  2. The respondent presents an imminent threat of danger to self, family or others as a result of alcohol or drug abuse, or there exists a substantial likelihood of such a threat of danger in the near future; and
  3. The respondent can reasonably benefit from treatment.

It is important to know that it can take up to two weeks to get the respondent into treatment.  If you need assistance during this process, please contact the Nelson County Attorney’s Office at (502) 348-1850.


Process to Obtain Treatment

  • A spouse, relative, friend or guardian may file a petition with the County Attorney.  The person filing the petition is called the Petitioner.  The person suspected of drug abuse is called the “respondent”.  The form is called “AOC-700A” and can be found in the packet at the County Attorney’s Office or it can be found here:
  • When returning the Petition to the Nelson County Attorney, you must have appointments within the next 14 days with one physician and one Qualified Health Professional (defined in KRS 202A.0111 – see attached sheet for a list of qualified people) who will evaluate the respondent.  They must be different people.
  •  The petitioner must make the appointments.  The County Attorney’s Office cannot make those appointments for you.
  •  After the petition is filed, the court reviews the allegations and will examine the Petitioner under oath.
  •  If the Court determines there is probable cause to order treatment, the Court will set a hearing to determine if treatment should be ordered.  If the Court believes that there is probable cause for treatment, the respondent will be ordered to go to the appointments that the petitioner has already made.
  •  The Respondent is notified of the date and purpose of the hearing.
  •  The Respondent is evaluated by the two (2) Qualified Health Professionals.
  •  The Court will hold a hearing after evaluations to determine if the Respondent should undergo treatment.  The Court may order treatment from sixty (60) days or up to three hundred sixty (360) days, depending upon the request in the petition, the result of the hearing and opinions of the treating professionals.
  •  The Petitioner is responsible for obtaining treatment services and transporting the Respondent to the treatment facility.



Frequently Asked Questions

What is Casey’s Law?

The Matthew Casey Wethington Act for Substance Abuse Intervention is found at KRS 222.430 through 222.437.  It permits the District Court to order people to undergo drug treatment against their will for people who meet certain criteria.


What are the criteria for involuntary treatment?

For the Court to order involuntary treatment, it must find that the person:

  1. The respondent suffers from alcohol or drug abuse;
  2. The respondent presents an imminent threat of danger to self, family or others as a result of alcohol or drug abuse, or there exists a substantial likelihood of such a threat of danger in the near future; and
  3. The respondent can reasonably benefit from treatment.  (KRS 222.431).


How does the process work?

  • See above.


What if the Respondent refuses to go to the evaluations?

If the Respondent refuses to go to their appointments, the Court will issue a summons requiring the Respondent to go to the examinations.  If they do not, the Court will issue an order for the sheriff or police to transport the Respondent for the evaluations.


How long will the process take?

The Respondent will not be put into treatment immediately.  Once the Petition is filed, the Court must first hold a hearing with the Petitioner.  That hearing will usually be scheduled within one or two days of filing.  After the first hearing, the Respondent must then be evaluated by a physician and a Qualified Mental Health Professional who will submit reports to the Court.  After those reports are received, a second hearing will be held within 14 days of the first.  Only after the Court has the second hearing can treatment be ordered. Therefore, the process usually takes about two weeks to complete.


Who pays?

The Petitioner is responsible for all costs incurred in the process as well as for treatment of the Respondent.  They must sign a guarantee for payment as part of the petition.  If the Respondent has insurance, insurance may pay for part of the treatment.  But if it does not, the Petitioner is required to pay whatever is not covered by insurance.


Who makes the Doctor Appointments?

The Petitioner must make the appointments with the doctor.  You must have the appointments made before the petition can be filed.


What forms does the doctor fill out?

The doctor and Qualified Health Professional will fill out reports sent to them (AOC-703A). You can take these reports with you to the appointment or they can be sent by the court.  The reports must get into the Court’s file.


How do the forms get into the Court’s file? 

The reports from the health providers need to get into the Court’s file.  The health provider can send them directly to the Court or return them to the County Attorney’s Office who will file them with the Court.


What if the Respondent will not go to the appointments?

If you have tried to get the Respondent to go to the appointments and he or she will not voluntarily go, contact the County Attorney’s Office.  A summons will be issued to require the Respondent to go to the appointments.  If the Respondent still does not go, the Court will order the sheriff or other law enforcement to transport the Respondent.  The Petitioner is responsible for the costs of transport.


Why won’t the police just pick them up and take them to treatment?

The law does not permit the police to take a drug abuser into custody.  In fact, Casey’s Law prohibits putting drug abusers in jail simply for their abuse.


What if the Petitioner changes their mind about payment? 

The petitioner cannot change their mind or stop payment.  Once the process is started, it cannot be stopped without a Court Order.  If the Petitioner fails to follow through on their obligations, they can be exposed to a lawsuit for payment of costs or other court proceedings, potentially including contempt of court, which could lead to jail time.



  • Make appointments with one physician and one qualified health professional about 2 weeks out who will evaluate the respondent.
  • Fill out the AOC 700A and return to the County Attorneys’ Office. Make sure that we have a good phone number where we can contact you.
  • The County Attorney’s Office will call you and let you know when the first hearing will be held. It will usually be about two days from the time you turn in the petition, but weekends may delay that hearing. You must be present at this hearing or the case will be dismissed and the judge may hold you in contempt for not appearing.
  • After the first hearing, you need to attempt to get the respondent to the evaluations. If the respondent will not go, you must fill out an affidavit in the County Attorney’s Office detailing the efforts that you made to get the respondent to go and why you cannot get the respondent to go. The judge will review the affidavit and may issue a summons commanding the respondent to attend. If they still will not go, the judge will send law enforcement to transport the respondent to the evaluations.
  • Make sure that the medical professionals know to return the evaluation forms immediately to:Nelson County Attorney’s Office
    602 Bloomfield Road
    Bardstown, KY 40004
  • Attend the second hearing where the Judge will consider the evaluations and order treatment, if appropriate.




The County Attorney’s Office has compiled the following list of alcohol and drug treatment providers in this area for those filing Casey law petitions for involuntary treatment on the basis of alcohol and drug abuse. This list is not all inclusive and should not be considered a referral to any particular program. More information and additional providers can be found through an online search of the Kentucky Provider Directory at More facilities may also be located through websites such as  Bed availability in Kentucky treatment facilities can be located at

Flaget Memorial Hospital has also put together this listing of providers who may be able to provide assistance to you or your loved one. Click here to view the list >>

Recovery Works Elizabethtown
100 Dickie Drive
Elizabethtown KY
(270) 982-1244

The Bridge To Recovery
Drug Addiction Treatment Center
1745 Logsdon Rd
Bowling Green KY
(270) 777-1062

Jefferson Alcohol & Drug Abuse Center
Drug Addiction Treatment Center
600 S Preston St.
Louisville KY
(502) 583-3951

Our Lady of Peace
2020 Newburg Road
Louisville, KY 40205
(502) 451-3330

ARC Crown Recovery Center
PO Box 726
Louisa, KY 41230

Lexington Drug & Alcohol Inpatient Rehab
Drug Addiction Treatment Center
1025 Dove Run Rd #307, Lexington KY
(859) 350-1103

Isaiah House Recovery Center
Drug Addiction Treatment Center
2084 Main St
Willisburg KY
(859) 375-9200

St. Elizabeth Alcohol & Drug Treatment Center – Falmouth
Drug Addiction Treatment Center
512 Maple Ave
Falmouth KY
(859) 301-5966

Ten Brooke
8521 LaGrange Road
Louisville, KY 40242
(502) 426-6380



United For Recovery
860 W Stephen Foster Ave
Bardstown, KY 40004