Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush participated in a panel discussion about the legal issues involved in the opioid epidemic in Washington D.C. this week.
Rush co-chairs the National Judicial Opioid Task Force to examine how the opioid crisis impacts the justice system. At the Legal Services Corporation’s annual forum she spoke about the need for a greater understanding of the epidemic.
"Some of the key goals we have for the national judicial task force are to educate our judges, because one thing we don’t know as judges is the science of addiction," says Rush.
Rush says in more than 20 years as a judge she’s never seen crisis like this.
Other panelists talked about related issues like family law, child neglect cases and a lack of services. There was also a focus on the need to collaborate to address problems that often crisscross different areas of the law.
Rush says keeping families together and parents out of jail is one focus.
"How can we safely leave children with their parents while their parents are going through recovery and what is the role of the courts in regards to the coordination of services to allow for that to happen?" says Rush.
She also says there is a need for states to work together to unite families across state lines. The expansion of tele-court and tele-treatment options are also a focus for the task force.