Opioid Task Force Hearing Highlights Solutions

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Indiana Public Media on 10/17/2018 by Jill Sheridan

A national Opioid Task Force held a field hearing in Indianapolis this week and provided a chance for the group to hear how legal interventions aid people with a substance use disorder.

The justice system is often the first point of entry for someone with an addiction.

Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush sits on the Legal Services Corporations opioid task force as well as a federal judicial one. She says people often overlook the intersection of opioids and the law – which makes recovery more difficult.

“Whether it’s getting your license back, whether it’s debt, issues getting your children back, foreclosure, eviction,” says Rush.

The task force is made up of health care professionals, public health experts, business and legal leaders from around the country.

Rush says the justice system often provides treatment referral.

“How do we really increase the likelihood of their success and I think civil legal aid is going to play a big role,” says Rush.

The group heard from three panels. One about the medical-legal partnerships at an Indianapolis hospital, another about an Ohio program that serves youth impacted by the opioid crisis and the last about Indiana’s statewide response.