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Rush: Courts Will Be Full Partner in Opioid Fight

In State of the Judiciary address, chief justice points to growth of problem-solving courts to get offenders into drug treatment

(INDIANAPOLIS) - Chief Justice Loretta Rush says Indiana's courts will fight on the front lines of the opioid epidemic.

Rush said in her State of the Judiciary address legislative leaders and everyone else keep asking her what the courts can do about the opioid crisis. She says the answer is simple: "Everything." But she says the courts are well positioned to be a key participant, by handing out consequences to drug dealers and getting addicts into treatment

Rush says Indiana added eight more problem-solving courts last year, which help people with substance abuse issues. She says 15 more in the works could push the total over 100 this year. And Rush says the Supreme Court will train teams from each county in July on drug treatment options. 

Rush says the Supreme Court has responded to caseloads swollen by the drug epidemic by changing rules to let judges cross county lines to help out. In western Indiana, judges in Fountain and Warren Counties teamed up for regional drug and veterans' courts.

And Rush says the courts have already played a role in gettin drugs off the streets. The Supreme Court created and administers a statewide database of convicted drug offenders, which pharmacists have used to send up red flags on customers shopping for ingredients to make methamphetamine. She says the database has blocked thousands of purchases.

Chief Justice Loretta Rush (center) delivers the State of the Judiciary address, flanked by Gov. Eric Holcomb (left) and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. (Photo: Indiana Supreme Court)


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