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Judge Benjamin Bolser selected for 8-state opioid initiative

Judge Benjamin Bolser

ALPENA — A local judge has been chosen to be part of an eight-state effort to combat the opioid epidemic by connecting judges with medical experts.

Judge Benjamin Bolser, chief judge of Alpena and Montmorency counties’ 26th Circuit Courts, is part of a pilot program launched by the Appalachian/Midwest Regional Judicial Opioid Initiative.

Along with 10 other judges throughout the state, Bolser will participate in a series of videoconference conversations with physicians who will teach the judges about the psychology of addiction, medication-assisted treatment, and intervention programs that have been proven to work.

The judges will be able to question the doctors, participate in group discussions, and develop strategies for addressing the impact of opioids on criminal and family court cases.

Judges are on the front lines of the epidemic and uniquely positioned to help people in their struggles with drug abuse, according to Bridget Mary McCormack, Michigan Supreme Court chief justice, who was instrumental in creating the project to enable judges to better address addiction.

Bolser helped create and, for the past four years, has overseen Montmorency County’s veterans’ court, a treatment court for military veterans fighting substance abuse who have entered the court system.

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