Ohio chief justice on court impacts, roles in drug epidemic

CINCINNATI (AP) — The chief justice of Ohio’s supreme court helped bring together experts and officials from nine states in a first regional judicial summit on the opioid drug epidemic, even as an overdose surge sweeping nearby streets showed dramatically the scope of the problem.

Cincinnati first responders were chasing what turned out to be some 80 cases over a two-day period as the summit began. The state Department of Health on Thursday reported a record death toll from accidental drug overdoses in 2015.

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor is hoping for more collaboration, resources and public engagement for the problem. She says courts are heavily impacted, and that drug courts and other programs emphasizing treatment can help.

She says that otherwise, it’s like jailing people for having cancer.