Chief Justice raises awareness of opioid, stimulant use with proclamation

Illustration of a wrecking ball made of pills crashing into a crumbling human-like figure

Substance abuse and drug addiction have far-reaching, destructive impacts on Florida and the nation. The use of opioids and stimulants have reached epidemic proportions. U.S. drug overdose deaths rose almost 30% in the pandemic year of 2020, according to the Centers for Disease Prevention Control.

To raise awareness about opioid and stimulant use issues and disorders, and to highlight solutions involving the courts, Chief Justice Charles T. Canady issued a proclamation establishing September 2021 “as a month of awareness, training, and action regarding opioids, stimulants, and treatment for related substance use disorders.”

Opioid and stimulant use disorders exact a severe toll on the lives of millions in the United States. Impacts range from the suffering associated with addiction, impairment, overdoses, and death. Among further consequences are family disruption, job losses, increased crime, and taxpayer expense to address these and related problems in the justice, social services, and health care systems.

Ramifications are apparent throughout Florida courts, including drug courts, family courts, mental health courts, veteran courts, and other areas of the judicial system. Adverse impacts on both the courts and those whose lives have been directly affected can be reduced through greater awareness and access to resources.

Throughout September, the Office of the State Courts Administrator will offer a range of timely resources for judges, magistrates, court staff, and partners statewide, to understand the basics of addiction and how it affects the brain, drug use trends, treatment standards and best practices.

The initiatives are a part of the Florida Courts Opioids & Stimulants RESPONSE (FCOSR), a statewide judicial branch response to Florida’s opioid and stimulant crisis, focusing on enhanced awareness and effective ways to address this epidemic, especially through actions of the problem-solving courts and family courts.

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