Title 37, Chapter 7, Section 1
As used in this chapter, the term:
(1) "Alcoholic" means a person who habitually lacks self-control
as to the use of alcoholic beverages or who uses alcoholic
beverages to the extent that his health is substantially impaired
or endangered or his social or economic function is substantially
(2) "Alcoholic beverages" means alcoholic spirits, liquors, wines,
beers, and every liquid or fluid, patented or not, containing
alcoholic spirits, wine, or beer or any other liquid or fluid
containing alcohol in any form and producing intoxication in any
form or to any degree.
(3) "Alcoholic, drug dependent individual, or drug abuser
requiring involuntary treatment" means a person who is an
inpatient or an outpatient.
(3.1) "Available outpatient treatment" means outpatient treatment,
either public or private, available in the patient's community,
including but not limited to supervision and support of the
patient by family, friends, or other responsible persons in that
community. Outpatient treatment at state expense shall be
available only within the limits of state funds specifically
(4) "Chief medical officer" means the physician with overall
responsibility for patient treatment at any facility receiving
patients under this chapter or a physician appointed in writing as
the designee of such chief medical officer.
(5) "Clinical record" means a written record pertaining to an
individual patient and shall include all medical records, progress
notes, charts, admission and discharge data, and all other
information which is recorded by a facility which pertains to the
patient's hospitalization and treatment. Such other information as
may be required by rules and regulations of the board shall also
(6) "Community mental health center" means an organized program
for the care and treatment of alcoholics, drug dependent
individuals, or drug abusers operated by a community service board
or other appropriate public provider.
(7) "Court" means:
(A) In the case of an individual who is 17 years of age or older, the probate court for the county of residence of the patient or the county in which such patient is found. Notwithstanding Code Section 15-9-13, in any case in which the judge of the probate court is unable to hear a case brought under this chapter within the time required for such hearing or is unavailable to issue the order specified in subsection (b) of Code Section 37-7-41, the judge shall appoint a person to serve and exercise all the jurisdiction of the probate court in such case. Any person so appointed shall be a member of the State Bar of Georgia and be otherwise qualified for his duties by training and experience. Such appointment may be made on a case-by-case basis or by making a standing appointment of one or more persons. Any person receiving such a standing appointment shall serve at the pleasure of the judge making the appointment or his successor in office to hear such cases if and when necessary. The compensation of a person so appointed shall be as agreed upon by the judge who makes the appointment and the person appointed and as approved by the governing authority of the county for which such person is appointed and shall be paid from the county funds of the county. All fees collected for the services of such appointed person shall be paid into the general funds of the county served; or
(B) In the case of an individual who is under the age of 17
years, the juvenile court of the county of residence of the
patient or the county in which the patient is found.
(8) "Drug dependent individual" or "drug abuser" means a person
who habitually lacks self-control as to the use of opium, heroin,
morphine, or any derivative or synthetic drug of that group,
barbiturates, other sedatives, tranquilizers, amphetamines,
lysergic acid diethylamide or other hallucinogens, or any drug,
dangerous drug, narcotic drug, marijuana, or controlled substance,
as defined in Article 2 or Article 3 of Chapter 13 of Title 16 or
Chapter 3 of Title 26; or a person who uses such drugs to the
extent that his health is substantially impaired or endangered or
his social or economic function is substantially disrupted;
provided, however, that no person shall be deemed a drug dependent
individual or abuser solely by virtue of his taking, according to
directions, any such drugs pursuant to a lawful prescription
issued by a physician in the course of professional treatment for
legitimate medical purposes.
(9) "Emergency receiving facility" means a facility designated by
the department to receive patients under emergency conditions as
provided in Part 1 of Article 3 of this chapter.
(10) "Evaluating facility" means a facility designated by the
department to receive patients for evaluation as provided in Part
2 of Article 3 of this chapter.
(11) "Facility" means any state owned or state operated hospital,
community mental health center, or other facility utilized for the
diagnosis, care, treatment, or hospitalization of persons who are
alcoholics, drug dependent individuals, or drug abusers and any
other hospital or facility within the State of Georgia approved
for such purpose by the department.
(12) "Full and fair hearing" or "hearing" means a proceeding before a hearing examiner under Code Section 37-7-83 or Code Section 37-7-93 or before a court as defined in paragraph (7) of this Code section. The hearing may be held in a regular courtroom or in an informal setting, in the discretion of the hearing examiner or the court, but the hearing shall be recorded electronically or by a qualified court reporter. The patient shall be provided with effective assistance of counsel. If the patient cannot afford counsel, the court shall appoint counsel for him or the hearing examiner shall have the court appoint such counsel; provided, however, that the patient shall have the right to refuse in writing the appointment of counsel, in the discretion of the hearing examiner or the court. The patient shall have the right to confront and cross-examine witnesses and to offer evidence. The patient shall have the right to subpoena witnesses and to require testimony before the hearing examiner or in court in person or by deposition from any physician upon whose evaluation the decision of the hearing examiner or the court may rest. The patient shall have the right to obtain a continuance for any reasonable time for good cause shown. The hearing examiner and the court shall apply the rules of evidence applicable in civil cases. The burden of proof shall be upon the party seeking treatment of the patient. The standard of proof shall be by clear and convincing evidence. At the request of the patient, the public may be excluded from the hearing. The patient may waive his right to be present at the hearing, in the discretion of the hearing examiner or the court. The reason for the action of the court or hearing examiner in excluding the public or permitting the hearing to proceed in the patient's absence shall be reflected in the record.
(13) "Incapacitated by alcohol or drugs" means that a person, as a
result of the use of alcoholic beverages, any drug, or any other
substances listed in paragraph (8) of this Code section, exhibits
life-threatening levels of intoxication, withdrawal, or imminent
danger thereof, or acute medical problems; or is under the
influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs or any other substances
listed in paragraph (8) of this Code section to the extent that
the person is incapable of caring for himself or protecting
himself due to the continued consumption or use thereof.
(14) "Individualized treatment plan" means a proposal developed
during a patient's stay in a facility and which is specifically
tailored to the individual patient's treatment needs. Each plan
shall clearly include the following:
(A) A statement of treatment goals or objectives based upon and
related to a proper evaluation, which can be reasonably achieved
within a designated time interval;
(B) Treatment methods and procedures to be used to obtain these
goals, which methods and procedures are related to these goals
and which include a specific prognosis for achieving these
(C) Identification of the types of professional personnel who
will carry out the treatment and procedures, including
appropriate medical or other professional involvement by a
physician or other health professional properly qualified to
fulfill legal requirements mandated under state and federal law;
(D) Documentation of patient involvement and, if applicable, the
patient's accordance with the treatment plan; and
(E) A statement attesting that the chief medical officer has
made a reasonable effort to meet the plan's individualized
treatment goals in the least restrictive environment possible
closest to the patient's home community.
(14.1) "Inpatient" means a person who is an alcoholic, a drug
dependent individual, or a drug abuser and:
(A)(i) Who presents a substantial risk of imminent harm to
that person or others, as manifested by either recent overt
acts or recent expressed threats of violence which present a
probability of physical injury to that person or other
(ii) Who is incapacitated by alcoholic beverages, drugs, or
any other substances listed in paragraph (8) of this Code
section on a recurring basis; and
(B) Who is in need of involuntary inpatient treatment.
(14.2) "Inpatient treatment" or "hospitalization" means a program
of treatment for alcoholics, drug dependent individuals, or drug
abusers within a hospital facility setting.
(14.3) "Involuntary treatment" means inpatient or outpatient
treatment which a patient is required to obtain pursuant to this
(15) "Least restrictive alternative," "least restrictive
alternative placement," "least restrictive environment," or "least
restrictive appropriate care and treatment" means that which is
the least restrictive available alternative, placement,
environment, or care and treatment, respectively, within the
limits of state funds specifically appropriated therefor.
(15.1) "Outpatient" means a person who is an alcoholic, drug
dependent individual, or drug abuser and:
(A) Who is not an inpatient but who, based on the person's
treatment history or recurrent lack of self-control regarding
the use of alcoholic beverages, drugs, or any other substances
listed in paragraph (8) of this Code section, will require
outpatient treatment in order to avoid predictably and
imminently becoming an inpatient;
(B) Who because of the person's current mental state and
recurrent lack of self-control regarding the use of alcoholic
beverages, drugs, or any other substances listed in paragraph
(8) of this Code section or nature of the person's alcoholic
behavior or drug dependency or drug abuse is unable voluntarily
to seek or comply with outpatient treatment; and
(C) Who is in need of involuntary treatment.
(15.2) "Outpatient treatment" means a program of treatment for
alcoholics, drug dependent individuals, or drug abusers outside a
hospital facility setting which includes, without being limited
to, medication and prescription monitoring, individual or group
therapy, day or partial programming activities, case management
services, and other services to alleviate or treat the patient's
lack of self-control regarding the use of alcoholic beverages,
drugs, or any other substances listed in paragraph (8) of this
Code section so as to maintain the patient's semi-independent
functioning and to prevent the patient's becoming an inpatient.
(16) "Patient" means any alcoholic, drug dependent individual, or
drug abuser who seeks treatment under this chapter or any person
for whom such treatment is sought.
(17) "Private facility" means any hospital facility that is a
proprietary hospital or a hospital operated by a nonprofit
corporation or association approved for the purposes of this
chapter and a hospital facility operated by a hospital authority
created pursuant to Article 4 of Chapter 7 of Title 31.
(17.1) "Psychologist" means a licensed psychologist who meets the criteria of training and experience as a health service provider psychologist as provided in Code Section 31-7-162.
(18) "Representatives" means the persons appointed as provided in Code Section 37-7-147 to receive notice of the proceedings for voluntary or involuntary treatment.
(19) "Superintendent" means the chief administrative officer who
has overall management responsibility at any facility receiving
patients under this chapter or an individual appointed as the
designee of such superintendent.
(20) "Treatment" means the broad range of emergency, outpatient,
intermediate, and inpatient services and care, including
diagnostic evaluation, medical, psychiatric, psychological, and
social service care, vocational rehabilitation, and career
counseling, which may be extended to alcoholics, intoxicated
persons, drug dependent individuals, and drug abusers.
(21) "Treatment facility" means a facility designated by the
department to receive patients for treatment as provided in Part 3
of Article 3 of this chapter.