Can a court sentence you to Antabuse?

Dear Stanton,

A dear friend of mine was just convicted of his second DUI in the state of Colorado. I realize that this friend is an adult and must pay for his mistakes, which he is; however when he told me the stipulations of his court case, I was infuriated! Beyond the jail-time and fines he endured, the court instated a prescription of Antabuse. I’ve recently done some homework on this drug and find it to be somewhat dangerous. My question to you is: What right does a court of law have in prescribing drugs? There was no doctor involved in this particular descision, only the court had taken the liberty to prescribe, holding an extra 60 days in jail over my friends’s head if he refused to ingest the drug. This seems to be extremely unconstitutional, and makes me very angry. If you can shed any light on the court’s priviliges I would be grateful!


Dear Chad:

It’s a new one on me, but consistent with other trends. That is, if they can “sentence” you to not drink (confirmed by urine tests), then the next step is to give you a drug that makes you not drink. It is no light thing to digest Antabuse (do you know Keith Moon of the Who died of a reported overdose of Antabuse). Of course, your friend can fight it legally — it could be a big cause celebra. He might also consult a seasoned pharmacologist who could lay out potential problems with this “prescription,” and petition the court on the basis of the health dangers Antabuse presents and suggest an alternative on his own — like therapy or urine tests, assuming these are for a time-limited period.


Stanton Peele

Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.


  • Candi says:

    If your a true Alcoholic then it could help but to court order you to take it shouldn’t be allowed. I lived in Florida and got a DUI and was court ordered by the judge (who was a known party person himself) to take Antiabuse. I was just an occasional drinker at the time. I did not drink while taking the drug. It’s really hard to find rides when your license has been taken away too. I had to have a pharmacist watch me take the pill at local Walmart and he would sign off on the sheet and I’d take it to my probation officer once a week. Dumbest idea ever. I eventually broke out in a blister rash on my arms that was very painful and ended up in ER. I was careful about everything except apparently my hand lotion had Alcohol in it that I didn’t think about. The doctor said it looked like I had bad burns. I didn’t take the pill anymore for the last 6 months of probation and I signed the sheet of paper daily just like my pharmacist would do. Plus how would my
    Probation officer know who signed the sheet. Walmart had like 3 pharmacists that worked there. On any given day it could be a tech giving me the pill. I had Decided not to hurt myself anymore.

  • John doe says:

    It does not work I would drink and flush it out. Yeah I would get a rash but then I beat the drug . I wasn’t even an alcoholic but
    the legal system made me out to be.

  • Milo says:

    I got prescribe antabuse in the state of Colorado, and first I was pissed at the judge but after my time was done I wanted to give thank the Judge for if it wasnt for that I would not be where I am today. Yes it’s a risky drug but if you follow the guide lines nothing will happen

  • Jen says:

    Hi. I am doing research on Antabuse and came across this post. Yes, Colorado is one of the few states left that partakes in the use of this drug as a form of treatment and supervision guided by a court of law/probation department. I think it is la violation of a person’s rights, even if they have been found guilty of a crime, to not be able to choose to take a known drug that has seriously harmful side effects. I am trying to find out how many states partake in this drug currently. Last I knew, it had dwindled down to something like 7, with Colorado being one of them. I had a friend in Indiana that was convicted of a DUI and was court ordered to take Antabuse. She ended up with Jaundice and the beginning of stages of kidney failure. She was hospitalized and “excused” from taking the drug and ordered to do day reporting instead. If you ask me, this drug and anyone forced to take it is the next largest class action law suit.

  • Manny says:

    An alcoholic on Antabuse who drinks gets quite sick to the point that he can’t drive and kill a busload of people !
    The danger of Antabuse to a sober person is highly exaggerated; lots of alcoholics beg to remain on it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.