National Judicial Opioid Task Force Releases Final Report

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Indiana Public Media on 11/21/2019 by Jill Sheridan

The final report for the National Judicial Opioid Task Force was released this week and includes recommendations and resources for courts responding to addiction.

The task force was formed in 2017. Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush co-chairs the group and says it was created in response to the growing number of court cases related to substance abuse.

“Let’s look at the addiction and treat the addiction, this revolving door that we have isn’t working,” says Rush.

Findings in the report include a lack of access to proven treatment, the impact of the opioid epidemic on families and children, the need for better support for state courts and the creation of a framework to respond to future crises.

Rush says this includes adopting ways to help people.

“We’re responsible for the administration of justice in Indiana, and we believe this is part of it,” says Rush.

The report also includes comprehensive tool kits for justice professionals seeking to improve ways to refer and respond to addiction-related cases.

Rush says state courts need to address some hard questions.

“What is the best practice treatment, how can you divert, how do judges look at assessments?” Rush says.