Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush will co-chair a national task force to examine how the country’s opioid epidemic impacts the justice system.
Rush has been outspoken about the increase of Hoosier children into the court system because of opioids. Rush says much attention has been placed on the health aspect of the crisis – but she argues there needs to be more focus on how courts can deal with the influx of cases.
“While much attention has deservedly been focused on this epidemic’s health impact, we cannot ignore the significant legal issues it also raises. It has become a recurring theme throughout our nation that this crisis is crippling our communities and overwhelming our courts,” said Rush, in a statement.
Before becoming Indiana’s chief justice, Rush was a juvenile court judge in Tippecanoe County, and helped create the county’s first Court-Appointed Child Advocates (CASA) program.
She currently serves on the Commission on Improving the State of Children, which works politicians, advocacy groups, courts, and health departments to study issues and develop recommendations for legislation.
The task force is comprised of top state court officials, including Rush’s co-chair, Deborah Taylor Tate, task force co-chair and Tennessee’s state court administrator.
Its priorities include development of a checklist for states on rules and policies that either help or hinder response efforts.
The task force will have its first meeting on Nov. 13 in Washington D.C.
Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Lauren Chapman contributed to this report.