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State officials meet at Opioid Summit to discuss crisis


INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Supreme Court held an Opioid Summit at the Indiana Convention Center on Wednesday with representatives from each county in Indiana. The summit included training on education, evidence based treatments for substance abuse, resources and an opportunity for local leaders to discuss the crisis in their own communities.

"We're going to tackle this in a very holistic way in getting the best information to everyone that touches the addict within the community so we can start seeing some positive results because too many people are dying," said Loretta Rush, the Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court.

Chief Justice Rush is the co-Chair of the National Judicial Opioid Task Force and helped organize Wednesday's summit.

Judge James Fox of the St. Joseph County Probate Court, who was part of the team representing St Joseph County, thinks leaders must deal with communication barriers between government and law enforcement officials first.

"There's a lot of reason they can't share it so that was some of the talk at our table is it's not as easy to share data. There are times where you can get information from the prosecutor but then can't share that data with some other people and it's a little harder to get in front of the court. So I think everybody realizes it should be better, and I think when you hear from what the speakers say is, 'It absolutely should flow seamlessly' is what they seem to indicate. The reality is it doesn't always do that and that's where we're at the very infantile stages of trying to get that set up," Fox said.

Marion County Superior Court Judge William Nelson's son overdosed on opioids in 2009. He was among the many state officials mapping out the next steps in dealing with the crisis.

"We're meeting next week kind of as a debrief. Probably 4 to 6 months we'll start meeting regionally, county by county to debrief today and to hopefully keep progress moving forward," Nelson said.

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