Attorney General Fox Releases Landmark Report on Substance Abuse in Montana
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox released a landmark report Tuesday that provides a comprehensive outline of what the State of Montana currently does to address substance abuse through State programs. The report, part of his office’s Aid Montana: Addressing the Impact of Drugs initiative, will serve as an important document for mapping reforms to State programs that address substance abuse.
Speaking to the report, Attorney General Fox said, “Addressing the substance abuse epidemic plaguing our state must be a top priority for policymakers at all levels of government. But before we can move forward in the right direction, we need to know where we are right now. We must survey the lay of the land, and that’s precisely what this report does.”
In addition to providing a compilation of program summaries, the report also includes valuable statistical information demonstrating the scope of substance abuse in Montana in comparison to other states in the region, and the nation as a whole. Here are a few statistics contained in the report:
- Since 1980, the drug offense rate in Montana has increased 559 percent.
- Methamphetamine violations are up over 500 percent in the past 5 years.
- From 2010 to 2014, the total charges in Montana for ER and hospital visits with a primary or secondary diagnosis of substance abuse totaled $796 million.
- Heroin violations have increased 1557 percent from 2010 to 2015.
Attorney General Fox went on to say, “Our report will allow us to better identify how state resources are used to target substance abuse. From there, we will identify gaps, inefficiencies, what works and what doesn’t work, and have a more complete understanding of how the State of Montana can better align efforts to enhance necessary communication between agencies, and improve outcomes for those suffering with addiction.”
Over the next 15 months, Attorney General Fox will work with stakeholders to develop a strategic plan to comprehensively address substance abuse, including alcohol and prescription drug use, in Montana. The plan will include policy recommendations to the 2019 Montana Legislature, as well as recommendations to agencies that can be achieved through existing authority and resources.