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Responding to the Opioid Crisis in Rural America: Judges and Sheriffs Workshop, Meeting Summary

NCJ Number
Date Published
August 2019
5 pages
This report summarizes the discussions in two workshops, each composed of about 50 judges and sheriffs from 29 counties in 11 states, who discussed the challenges, innovations, and opportunities in responding to the opioid crisis in rural America.
One workshop was held on December 13 and 14, 2018, and the second was held on April 1 and 2, 2019, under the sponsorship of the U.S. Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The states represented were Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. All participants reported multiple challenges in addressing the opioid crisis in their communities. The challenges discussed included limited treatment and recovery support services; limited judicial, law enforcement, and jail resources; lack of communications/information sharing; and limited training. Regarding innovations, many participants reported programs or services in their communities designed to combat the opioid crisis. Each of the states has drug courts, and many participants described other innovative programs for countering the opioid crisis and reducing overdose deaths and associated criminal activity. Each state's innovations are described. Workshop participants also described various ways to improve responses to the opioid crisis. These included education, training, and peer-to-peer exchanges; the development of relationships with philanthropic institutions; the increase/expansion of teleservices; and the expanded use of mobile units to deliver services.