ELYRIA — Judge James Walther recently was appointed to a national opioid initiative task force.
Walther, who presides as judge of the Lorain County Probate Court, was appointed as a representative to the American Bar Association Senior Lawyers Division Opioid Initiative Task Force. The appointment was made by Anne Meister, president of the National College of Probate Judges.
The Opioid Initiative Task Force was created with the goal of following up on the 2018 Opioid Summit and to “engage the Division and ABA in discussions to counter the crisis,” according to the American Bar Association.
The summit’s participants helped create the resulting Opioid Summit Report, written by Dr. Mary Carter of Towson University. The summit’s planners used the Opioid Summit’s report and recommendations to collaborate with other ABA entities to develop a policy resolution addressing the opioid crisis.
Walther was chosen to represent the National College of Probate Judges because of his “interest in helping those with addictions,” Meister said.
Walther presides over the Lorain County Veterans Treatment Court and the Lorain County New Journey Court, for people with serious mental illness. Both courts address the problem of opioid addiction in the community.
“Many of the people in our programs have co-occurring disorders, meaning a person who has a mental illness and a substance-use disorder,” Walther said. “As the probate judge, we are seeing increased numbers of older folks caught up in the opioid crisis. This epidemic has hit Lorain County pretty hard.
“It is an honor to be chosen to represent NCPJ for this challenge. I am ready to roll up my sleeves and help in any way I can. This is also an opportunity to bring the very best ideas in combating the opioid crisis back to Lorain County. I look forward to getting started.”