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Law enforcement, doctors teaming up to fight opioid crisis

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. - Thursday night, a vigil is being held for the doctor shot and killed after refusing to prescribe pills.

Meanwhile, law enforcement and doctors are honoring Dr. Todd Graham’s legacy by fighting the opioid epidemic.

Graham was shot by Michael Jarvis outside South Bend Orthopaedics in July.

Investigators say Jarvis was confronting Graham, trying to get a pill prescription.

Jarvis took his own life later that day.

St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter says he wants eliminate this type of addiction to prevent future tragedies.

“What happened to Dr. Graham is something everyone wishes never happened,” Cotter said.                 

After the shooting, doctors and law enforcement changed their approach to the opioid crisis.

Now, they work together to combat the issue.

“It’s a combination with law enforcement, the general community and medical providers. We were meeting about this, but we were insular,” Cotter said.

Cotter says he’s met with almost 80 doctors since Graham’s death, and has several more meetings scheduled.

The unofficial coalition of doctors and law enforcement hopes to eventually create a treatment center for addiction in St. Joseph County.

Cotter says the doctors are also discussing how they should prescribe medication, and how to better educate patients.

In the short term, the group wants to install more prescription drop boxes in the county.

While the doctor and law enforcement teams are newly combined, each side is quickly learning more about the other.

“Truthfully, we were unaware that doctors were being confronted in the manner that they were. The last thing a doctor or a medical provider wants to do is to have to get law enforcement involved when a patient is frustrated,” Cotter said.

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