The Statewide Opioid Summit focused on the intersection of addiction and the justice systemand highlighted Medication-Assisted Treatment.
Medicated-assisted treatment or MAT combines medications like methadone with therapy to treat addiction. It’s proven to work. But there has been resistance to implementing such programs in Indiana.
Family and Social Services Secretary Jennifer Walthall says the summit helps reduce stigma about MAT and addiction.
"If people are hearing the same thing from every angle, whether it be, the court, law enforcement or the ER, we start to change the way our language and interactions with each other plays out in everyday life," says Walthall.
The event shared best practices to help people with addiction. Marion Superior Court Judge William Nelson spoke to his colleagues at a keynote address.
"Let’s learn today how to treat a substance use disorder for exactly what it is, a chronic brain disease, not a crime," Nelson says. "Let’s learn to help those in need, instead of punish."
Other topic areas included the science of addiction, recovery court models and policy barriers.
Chief Justice Loretta Rush leads a national task force and spoke at the event.
"It’s very important that we understand addiction, that we understand what’s evidence based, what treatment works and how to implement it in our community," says Rush.
Representatives from all 92 Indiana counties attended.