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[ATG] AG: Rx addiction treatment through problem-solving courts to be studied
Start Date: 10/5/2012Start Time: 12:00 AM
End Date: 10/5/2012
Entry Description

INDIANAPOLIS – After attending a graduation ceremony for defendants who successfully completed the Clark County Adult Drug Court program, Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced that his Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force initiative will examine combating prescription painkiller addiction through problem-solving specialty courts.

 

"Fighting the cruel grip of drug addiction is an incredible challenge and we must do more as a state to support these efforts in individual counties," Zoeller said. "In supporting greater resources for specialty courts, one of my goals will be to examine the effectiveness and possible expansion of drug courts, veteran courts and other problem-solving courts that recognize the underlying root causes of some crimes and help offenders to resolve them. This approach gives certain types of offenders the opportunity and motivation to live productive, crime-free lives in the future."

 

On Thursday, Zoeller was the commencement speaker at a graduation ceremony in Jeffersonville, Ind., for defendants who had successfully completed the Adult Drug Court program in Clark County Superior Court 2, where Judge Jerry Jacobi presides. That program and approximately 33 other similar adult drug courts around the state provide low-level drug offenders who have addiction problems with the opportunity to avoid further incarceration, if they can remain free of substance abuse and complete a drug-testing program and other behavioral requirements under close court supervision. There are also at least three juvenile drug courts in Indiana and other adult drug courts are in the planning stages. Zoeller said he was impressed by the Clark County program and noted the role of family members and friends in supporting the graduates who successfully completed the requirements and remained free of substance abuse.

 

On September 24, Zoeller announced formation of the new Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, a group of 60 individuals representing law enforcement, public health, the legislative branch, social services and pharmacists who are examining the problem of abuse and diversion of addictive prescription medications. The task force, which Zoeller chairs, will recommend changes to state laws and regulations in advance of the 2013 session of the Indiana General Assembly, and smaller committees within the task force will study individual issues. Zoeller today announced that task force members will be assigned specifically to look at using specialty court supervision programs such as drug courts in the treatment of prescription drug abuse and addiction. If those are found effective, then the task force would offer recommendations on how such programs might be developed in counties where they don’t already exist.

 

"In addition to the problems with illegal drugs, prescription painkiller abuse is an epidemic according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We must focus on treatment and alternatives to incarceration as a priority, and the possible expansion of drug courts could play an important role. I believe this is a worthwhile concept that the Legislature should have the opportunity to learn more about,” Zoeller said.

 

By law the Attorney General serves on the Criminal Code Evaluation Commission, the legislative study panel assigned to review criminal statutes in the Indiana Code and recommend the first comprehensive changes to it since 1977. A recent analysis conducted by Indiana University Purdue University in Indianapolis in collaboration with Indiana’s prosecutors found that nearly one quarter of all commitments to the Indiana Department of Correction were for low-level drug possession, including possession of marijuana. Research indicates that short-term incarceration of such individuals, without the intervention of a problem-solving court, is ineffective in reducing recidivism, as well as being much more costly.

 

Zoeller also serves as a member of the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI) board, and serves on the Executive Working Group, a select group of state attorneys general, local prosecutors and United States attorneys who work with the leadership of the U.S. Department of Justice on criminal justice issues of national concern.

 

Since taking office in January 2009, Zoeller has directed the Indiana Attorney General’s Office toward providing greater support for and collaboration with the criminal justice system in Indiana and strengthening working relationships with law enforcement, prosecutors and judges. "Providing for the safety of all Indiana's citizens is the first responsibility of government," Zoeller added. 

 

-30-

 

Location Information:
Clark County

State House
IN
Marion

Statewide
IN
Contact Information:
Name: Bryan Corbin
Phone: 317.233.3970
Email: Bryan.Corbin@atg.in.gov
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Entry Type:
Press Release
Entry Category:
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  • IN.gov Category:
  • Government
  • Residents
  • Agency Name
    Attorney General

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