Indiana’s courts are ramping up their response to the opioid epidemic.
By year's end, Chief Justice Loretta Rush says 53 counties will have special problem-solving courts to help families address drug issues at the root of whatever landed them in a courtroom in the first place,. That's 11 new counties, and 31 new courts, in a span of three years.
In Fulton County, an adult drug court is currently in the planning stages.
Rush says some counties have honed the concept to create "family recovery courts." Indiana will end the year with 18 such courts, triple the number in 2016.
Miami County has an adult drug court. In Pulaski County, a family recovery court is in the planning stages. Wabash County has three with an adult drug, re-entry and family recovery courts. Kosciusko also has an adult drug court.
Rush told Indiana's annual drug abuse symposium judges need to take the lead in fighting the opioid epidemic, bringing together treatment professionals and government and community agencies to get people the help they need.
Rush says judges see the wide-ranging effects of drug abuse in their courtrooms every day -- not just in criminal drug cases, but in cases from child custody cases to bankruptcies.
Rush says the pervasive influence of drugs across the docket makes it important to train judges in the effectiveness of different types of treatment and how to recognize the signs of drug abuse.
Rush chairs a national judicial task force on the opioid epidemic, which has produced a series of informational cards for judges covering topics from signs of fetal alcohol syndrome to how to administer the anti-overdose drug naloxone.