I am asking for the legislature to review and revise The Marchman Act to include The Jennifer Act.
Due to the recent death of my daughter, Jennifer M. Reynolds- Gonzalez (age 29) and repeated attempts to intervene and save her life by following all Florida laws currently in place, (filing of the Marchman Act in Pinellas, Hillsborough and Hardee Counties on behalf of my daughter, Jennifer), I see the need for reforming this law.
Respectfully, the following revisions I bring before the legislature:
1) There are no secure beds in Pinellas County, of which The Marchman Act requires.
Therefore, I petition the state of Florida and ask for secured beds and facilities for the addicted under the new amendment: The Jennifer Act.
*note: There are very few Florida state funded facilities currently available for the addicted for detox. Currently, the addicted can walk out of a treatment facility.
2) The enforcement of The Marchman Act changes from county to county within the state of Florida. Therefore, I ask for the new law The Jennifer Act. The purpose is to ensure revision of the law firmly in place in all counties in which it is filed in the state of Florida.
3) The fee for filing a Marchman Act petition at the courthouse is very costly: $400.00
Therefore, I ask for the new law, The Jennifer Act, and that this filing fee be changed and re-adjusted at an affordable rate of the cost of processing the paper work only. Currently the cost varies from county to county, so The Jennifer Act would make the fee the same for every county in Florida.
4) Currently, the Marchman Act “holds” the addicted person for 72 hours for observation and a professional assessment. Therefore, I ask for the length of time extended for proper medical detoxing, and a board certified professional (C.A.P.) evaluation of the addicted person. The length of detox varies based on the substance and the individual, but in either case 72 hours is an insufficient amount of time.
*note: intake specialist must be board certified.
5) Evaluation and assessment of the patient/ the addicted is critical. Therefore, I ask for the new law, The Jennifer Act, to supervise and oversee county by county all facilities by The Office Of Drug Control, The Capitol, Tallahassee, Florida.
The Jennifer Act would provide a watchdog team. This would hold the patient/addicted until a thorough and proper assessment and evaluation and stabilization of the patient/addicted has been approved by an elected board on staff at The Office of Drug Control. This is a three-fold plan.
a) It brings accountability to the state funded, state run facility
b) It involves another certified addiction professional, a second evaluation and opinion
c) It ensures a treatment plan that does not release the addicted immediately. This extra time required initially, will provide a time of intense residential drug treatment.
6) Incarceration is not drug treatment. Incarcerating the addicted is perpetuating a revolving door of repeating the insanity of addiction. It brings nothing of purpose to an individual and the result is of no lasting value for mankind. I believe in investing in people, regardless of race, creed or gender which can positively alter and change addiction behaviors and habits. It costs thousands of dollars per year to incarcerate the addicted. Therefore, I ask for the new law, The Jennifer Act, for the purpose of a network of Doctors and Certified Addiction Professionals –staffed by the Dept. of Corrections to evaluate inmates, including drug testing, mental, physical and emotional assessment due to their addiction. After positive assessment has been made of an addict, I ask on behalf of the addicted, they be given 2 alternatives/choices for rehabilitation and drug treatment vs. incarceration:
a) Faith based drug treatment
b) Secular drug treatment
The purpose of The Jennifer Act is that we as a body in the state of Florida, work together as advocates to better mankind, especially the weak, sick and drug addicted. For twelve years, I have fearlessly fought hard and mightily for drug treatment (through the Florida court system and laws in place, including petitions to many Judges and Magistrates) for my precious daughter, Jennifer. I am a voice for the castaways, the addicted. They are somebody’s daughter, son, mother, father, sister, brother or loved one. Often times, they have children, like my daughter. She has died at age 29 and left behind a precious little son, age seven and a family that loves her deeply. It is for Jennifer, my grandson Trey and others who have no voice and believe no one hears them or cares, that I write The Jennifer Act.
In summary, it has taken too many petitions, phone calls, letters, emails, and visits to get basic drug treatment for Jennifer – which is why I know first hand the struggle to help an addict. Most people do not have the time, knowledge, willpower or resources to accomplish what I have done, which is why I have proposed The Jennifer Act – so that they may have the chance to save their loved one.
I humbly petition the state of Florida for a revision and improvement of The Marchman Act.
~In God we trust. May I be used as a vessel for the intent of helping others.
If you are interested in helping this cause, please contact the following people and make your voice heard:
William Janes – Florida Office of Drug Control
Charlie Crist – Florida Governor
Myself, Sharon Blair – Advocate for Proper Drug Treatment
In addition to the above listed names, we need to contact all Florida Senators and Representatives to get our voice heard.