Opioid Crisis Takes Center Stage at Juvenile Justice Conference

August 24, 2017

Juvenile court judges, judicial staff, attorneys, and other juvenile justice professionals from across Tennessee spent nearly half their annual conference learning about the state’s opioid crisis and the role of courts and judges.

Tommy Farmer, director, Dangerous Drugs Task Force, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation; Stephen Loyd, M.D., assistant commissioner, Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services; and Judge Duane Slone, 4th Judicial District, presented a three-part session on the opioid epidemic.

Judge Slone discussed the success of many of the state’s drug courts, but stressed the capacity is not there to handle the opioid epidemic. He is currently chairing the seven-state Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative, which is a regional framework involving all players in the criminal justice system.

“Judges need to be at the table. Policymakers need to hear our voices,” Slone said.

In addition to discussing the opioid epidemic, the conference also focused on the psychological mindset of school shooters, with presentations from Judge Sheila Calloway, 20th Judicial District, Davidson County, and Molly Hudgens, guidance counselor, Cheatham County Schools. The conference was opened by Judge Calloway and Nashville Mayor Megan Barry.

The group also recognized Judge Timothy R. Brock of Coffee County with the McCain-Abernathy Award, see related story.

Tommy Farmer, director, Tennessee Dangerous Drugs Task Force at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, talks with juvenile judges from across the state.