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Indiana chief justice tells lawmakers that courts are taking action to combat state's opioid crisis

Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush, center, is applauded Jan. 10 by Gov. Eric Holcomb, left, and Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, right, following her "State of the Judiciary" address.

It's a Hoosier public health epidemic of epic proportions that's getting the appropriate attention from all levels of state and local government.

Our leaders must ensure the growing verbal and policy attention surrounding the Indiana opioid crisis transforms into better treatment options for the afflicted.

Scores of Region and state police officers carry Narcan shots, capable of reversing the effects of heroin overdoses.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb made combating the crisis of heroin and prescription painkiller abuse a centerpiece of his State of the State address earlier this month.

Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush followed up on Holcomb's concerns in her "State of the Judiciary" address to the General Assembly.

Rush, formerly of Munster and co-chairwoman of the National Judicial Opioid Task Force, noted "addiction has swept into every court — and not just in Indiana, but across our country."

"People often ask me the same question they are asking you: What can we do about this crisis? I have one answer: Together we have to do everything."

She's right.

It's encouraging to see government already responding to the admonitions of Rush and many other political and public health leaders.

Teams from each county are set to convene in July to participate in extensive training on treatment for substance abuse. This is key as availability and access to effective treatment continue to be a major challenges in the Hoosier state.

Judges, prosecutors and public health officials together are building bridges to treatment options for offenders as part of their sentences.

The emergence of special drug and veterans courts in the Region and state are shining examples of this newfound priority.

It's a growing problem affecting people of all ages, destroying families, livelihoods and countless future prospects for some of our state's most vulnerable residents.

Our state must unite to "do everything" to fight this battle and ensure the momentum we're seeing today translates into treatment options tomorrow.

We can't afford to let the momentum fizzle.


Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Local News Editor Marc Chase, Lake County Editor Crista Zivanovic, Porter/LaPorte County Editor Doug Ross and Deputy Local Editor Erin Orr.