The USA is facing the worst drug problem in the whole history. Many years have passed since the country declared an opioid epidemic outbreak, but the situation seems to get worse as it was in the previous years. One of the states in America that struggles to stop the worsening of the drug problem is Montana.
WalletHub recently ranked all the states from the worst to the least drug problems. With this ranking, Montana came in the 22nd spot which means the state could be struggling to fight the drug cases that result in an overdose death.
Montana may not exceed the national average rate when it comes to opioid and prescription drug abuse, but that doesn’t mean there’s no problem. Commonly, the current drug problem of Montana centers on methamphetamine or meth abuse among locals.
Methamphetamine just currently got back in the face of abusers. Montana used to be the home of meth labs way back in the eighties and nineties. This time, it’s now in the hands of the Mexican cartel.
In the past years where meth was manufactured locally, it was under 20% PURE. In its comeback, it became 99% pure which makes it more potent and therefore dangerous. This information is according to Bryan Lockerby, administrator of the Montana Department of Justice.
He also added that meth dealers always find a way to deal meth to their customers. There’s a local distributor in Montana that spreads the substance at a lower price to the communities surrounding the state.
In a 2017 report, it showed that meth makes up Montana’s 31% drug offenses. It also makes up the most number of cases investigated by Montana narcotic agents at 54%. The biggest age group at 23.7% that availed treatment for amphetamine and methamphetamine addiction was the 26-30-year-olds.
Last 2017, the Montana State Crime Lab found meth in 2, 475 evidence samples tested in criminal drug cases. The spreading of meth again in the state loaded up their courts, jails, and prisons. There may be other drugs abused in Montana, but it’s nothing compared to meth abusers who contribute to crim and child neglect statewide.
Methamphetamine may lead the substance abuse in Montana, but opioid doesn’t come far. Years ago, the opiate was a significant contributor to the drug problem in Montana, but different measures made it possible to reduce the rate of opioid cases in the state. In 2016, Montana only reached an opioid-related overdose rate of 4.2 deaths in every 100,000 people. It’s the lowest rate they got over the last decade. It poses a less than a third rate than the national average of 13.3 deaths in every 100,000 people.
Since meth is the major problem in the state, officials and experts are coming up with a solution that will permanently solve the current drug problem in Montana.
The Montana County Attorneys Association proposed a drug diversion program recently. This program focuses on getting addicted offenders into treatment immediately. They aim to stop the cycle of drug abuse, crime, arrest, and incarceration.
Their goal is to move immediately with efficiency to divert people charged with their first felony drug offense into treatment. The county attorney would offer the offender a deal: plead guilty, finish the whole treatment recommended by a licensed addiction counselor, stop the further criminal activity and their record will be cleared.
The association envisions addiction treatment to be given as soon as possible like days within arrest instead of waiting months before offering treatment. Offenders will go through a therapy which typically lasts for 12-18 months depending on the severity of the case.
The program needs to be applied statewide since the problem is statewide. The county attorneys are looking to the state to provide them with funds and coordinate the diversion program through a state agency.
Cities of Montana
- Big Sandy
- Big Timber
- Clyde Park
- Columbia Falls
- Cut Bank
- Deer Lodge
- East Helena
- Fort Benton
- Fort Peck
- Grass Range
- Great Falls
- Hot Springs
- Judith Gap
- Lodge Grass
- Medicine Lake
- Miles City
- Red Lodge
- St. Ignatius
- Thompson Falls
- Three Forks
- Twin Bridges
- Virginia City
- West Yellowstone
- White Sulphur Springs
- Wolf Point