INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush has been selected to lead a task force of state court officials examining the justice system's role in combating the nation's opioid abuse crisis.

The eight-member panel, overseen by Rush and co-chairwoman Deborah Taylor Tate, the Tennessee state court administrator, is set to hold an initial meeting Nov. 13 in Washington, D.C.

It will hear from state and national experts on what is and what's not working in opioid abuse prevention, and look to establish partnerships that focus specifically on the impact of opioids on children, foster children and families.

Ultimately, the task force plans to develop guidance for state courts to promote collaboration among treatment providers, criminal justice systems and child welfare agencies, as well as identifying laws, policies and 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, who lived in Munster as a child.

"It has become a recurring theme throughout our nation that this crisis is crippling our communities and overwhelming our courts."

The National Center for State Courts is coordinating the work of the opioid task force on behalf of the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators.

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Dan is Statehouse Bureau Chief for The Times. Since 2009, he's reported on Indiana government and politics — and how both impact the Region — from the state capital in Indianapolis. He originally is from Orland Park, Ill.