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UNH School of Law Holds Panel Of N.H. Judges Discussing Opioid Epidemic

Robert Garrova for NHPR
From L-R: UNH Law Professor Lucy Hodder leads a panel discussion on the opioid crisis with Hon. Susan B. Carbon, Hon. Tina Nadeau and Hon. Jacalyn A. Colburn

The UNH School of Law held a panel Wednesday on the opioid crisis and New Hampshire's court system. Professor Lucy Hodder led the discussion, which was attended by law students, attorneys practicing in New Hampshire, law enforcement and several health care professionals.


"The courts, like the police, often see before anyone else the impact of addiction on families and communities because they see people at their neediest," Hodder said.


Three judges provided first-hand experiences of how the epidemic affects their courtrooms.


One of them was Superior Court Judge JacalynColburn, who serves the Hillsborough County Southern District. She says she now spends about one day a week working on drug court cases.  


"It's illustrative of the fact that the epidemic has had a great impact on the criminal justice system when one fifth or 20 percent of a judge's work is dedicated to nothing but adult drug court," Colburn said.


Colburn says there are now 10 drug courts operating in the state, which focus on treatment as an alternative to incarceration. She says that, in the last few years, the goal has been to expand the use of drug courts.


But at an event focused on opioids, Colburn noted that her cases are not all related to the same type of substance abuse. “We’re seeing a spike in methamphetamine [and] we’re seeing a spike in crack cocaine,” Colburn said.


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