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Symposium On Opiate Addiction Focuses On Coordinated Effort

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Ohio’s response to the devastating effects of opiate abuse continued on June 30 as more than 800 state and local leaders came together to learn about promising judicial practices and options for treatment, including medication-assisted treatment.

Judges from 83 Ohio counties and their community partners attended the Ohio Judicial Symposium on Opiate Addiction, presented in part by the Ohio Supreme Court.

“As a former prosecutor and trial judge, I understand that drug addiction is a social ill that requires a multifaceted solution that includes tough law enforcement as well as treatment and community action,” Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice said in opening remarks.

The symposium also included Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Governor John Kasich.

“We're not going to save them all, but in the course of trying to save one person at a time, we not only change the world, we change ourselves,” Gov. Kasich said.

Attendees also heard from addiction experts and a panel of judges running successful specialty dockets on drug abuse.

Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge Stephen McIntosh brought a team to the symposium and was impressed with the attendance.

“I think the courts have all been well-represented and we all are willing to look at the treatment model as it relates to opiates, heroin, and all drugs as opposed to sending everyone to prison,” Judge McIntosh said.

County teams developed action plans to ensure that non-violent offenders with opiate addiction receive appropriate judicial and clinical interventions and recovery support services. Teams will be invited to share their experiences as part of the Supreme Court’s annual drug court conference in November.