The Florida Courts Opioid Initiative is a statewide judicial branch response to Florida’s opioid crisis, involving both statewide and circuit-specific efforts. The initiative focuses on awareness and effective ways to address opioid use disorder in problem-solving and family courts. It is guided by circuit teams comprised of judges and court staff who champion the initiative by developing specialized knowledge regarding opioids and medication-assisted treatment.
The six-prong initiative includes the following:
- Circuit Champions Identification. Chief judges throughout the state have identified circuit judges and court staff “champions” who have agreed to become local subject matter experts regarding opioids and medication-assisted treatment. Florida has 71 circuit champions from all 20 circuits.
- Circuit Champions Self-Study. Each circuit champion has embarked on a self-study, reading selected articles, listening to opioid podcasts, watching documentaries, and seeking knowledge from local experts. They are also participating in a series of facilitated statewide conference calls, creating a community of shared learning.
- Florida Courts Opioid Awareness Month. Chief Justice Charles T. Canady issued a proclamation on April 24, 2019, proclaiming July 2019 to be known within the State Courts System as a month of awareness regarding opioids and the treatment for opioid use disorder. Florida courts will launch an awareness campaign during July, including the distribution of weekly learning resources throughout the branch and circuitwide awareness events.
- Training Needs Assessment. The circuit champions will encourage all judges and court staff in problem-solving courts and dependency courts to complete a survey regarding intention, attitudes, and norms toward medication-assisted treatment. Information from the survey responses will help inform curriculum for future training events.
- National Conference Attendance. The circuit champions will attend the American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependency conference in Orlando in October 2019. They will also attend a Florida-specific pre-conference seminar.
- Regional Trainings. Using the responses from the training needs assessment and the developed expertise of the circuit champions, the Office of the State Courts Administrator will coordinate five regional trainings to be offered in 2020.
In addition to the six-prong approach above, Basia Andraka-Christou, J.D., Ph.D. and Meghan Gabriel, Ph.D., both with the University of Central Florida, will conduct a study to examine the effectiveness of the Florida Court Opioid Initiative.
What are opioids? Click here.
What is opioid use disorder? Click here.
What is medication-assisted treatment? Click here.