This editorial summarizes the epidemic in the U.S. of opioid addiction, its lethality in the addict community, and its impact on the justice and social-services sectors. It focuses on the pursuit by federal, state and local court systems of innovative alternatives to traditional models of civil and criminal litigation. Judicial officials are determined to save lives by expediting case processing, compelling settlements from prescription manufacturers and distributors, and orchestrating a range of social services to detour addiction’s lethal path. The urgency of settlement is exacerbated by the need to reimburse an array of treatment-oriented public-sector institutions for the enormous costs they are incurring. As new laws and regulations constrain those suffering chronic pain from access to prescription opioids, many pivot to street traffickers for illicit heroin, meth, and fentanyl analogs and derivatives. Because those remedies are distributed through multi-national criminal enterprises, even the longest arms of the law are hard put to extract settlements, leaving essential and costly treatment modalities essentially unfunded except through taxpayer revenues.
How to Cite:
Zimmer, M., 2019. Judges and Courts Respond to Opioid Litigation Engulfing U.S. Court Systems. International Journal for Court Administration, 10(1), pp.5–11. DOI: http://doi.org/10.18352/ijca.290