WASHINGTON, D.C. - The chief justice of the Indiana Supreme Court has been tapped to lead an nationwide effort. Loretta Rush will co-chair a national task force designed to address the ongoing opioid epidemic in the country and its impact on the justice system.

The task force will have its initial meeting November 13 in Washington D.C. Rush's office says the group will employ a number of strategies to achieve its goal, including:

  • Convening representatives from state and federal government and key national organizations to share existing strategies and identify unmet needs
  • Creating partnerships with entities addressing the impact of opioids on children with specific emphasis on foster care, assisting state courts in developing opioid task forces, and working with existing state task forces to make recommendations for local response efforts
  • Developing guiding principles that state courts can use for successful collaboration among treatment providers, criminal justice systems, and child welfare agencies
  • Creating a checklist of state legislation, policy, and court rules that aid or inhibit response efforts

"While much attention has deservedly been focused on this epidemic's health impact, we cannot ignore the significant legal issues it also raises," said Rush. "It has become a recurring theme throughout our nation that this crisis is crippling our communities and overwhelming our courts."

The task force was established by the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators. Rush will co-chair the group alongside Tennessee State Court Administrator Deborah Taylor Tate.

Other members of the task force include Iowa Chief Justice Mark Cady, New Mexico Chief Justice Judith Nakamura, Vermont Chief Justice Paul Reiber, Michael Buenger of Ohio, Nancy Dixon of Kansas, and Corey Steel of Nebraska.