There were a total of 2,403 admissions to Montana drug rehab addiction treatment programs in the state of Montana in 2004. 31.2% of these admissions to drug or alcohol addiction treatment programs in Montana were for alcohol addiction. 1% of these admissions were for heroin addiction, 19.2% of admissions were for marijuana addiction, and 1.5% of admissions were for cocaine or crack addictions.
Rehab Treatment Programs
There are many alcohol and drug addiction treatment programs in Montana. There is drug addiction treatment programs for those addicted to marijuana, cocaine (crack), crystal meth, ecstasy, prescription drugs, heroin, and many more. There is a drug or alcohol addiction treatment program for everyone at drug rehab facilities. There are so many different types of alcohol or drug addiction treatment programs to choose from there is one for every type of person. The state of Montana has drug or alcohol addiction treatment programs that deal with just the mental part of addiction. Montana also has programs that just deal with the physical part of addiction. They also have programs that deal with both the mental and physical parts of addiction. There is drug or alcohol addiction treatment programs for adults as well as teenagers. There are also drug or alcohol addiction treatment programs in Montana that are specifically for males, specifically for female, and programs for both males and females.
Montana is a very large state with a small population of just over 1,000,000 residents. While its huge expanses of land make Montana the 4th largest state in the country by size,this “Big Sky Country” ranks 44th in regard to population. However, this small population ranks 10th in the nation in regards to drug use. There is a higher rate of illegal drug use than the national average, with nearly 11 percent of adults in the population admitting to illicit drug use in the past month, with teen use at a higher 13 percent. The national average is just under 9 percent.
Current Drug Issues in the State
There are a few issues involving illicit drug use that affect residents in the State of Montana. The increasing problem with prescription drug abuse, the high rate of teen drug use, and the Native American/Alaskan Native population pose problems for controlling drug abuse in Montana. In addition, there is the potential for an increase resurgence of the serious methamphetamine problem that plagued the residents of Montana until 2005.
Prescription Drug Abuse
Abuse of prescription drugs is especially severe in Montana, where prescription drugs are second only to marijuana when it comes to use of illegal drugs. This increase in illicit prescription drug use has come at quite a cost. Overdose deaths in the State of Montana are higher than those for other drugs. In fact, according to statistics provided by the Montana Department of Justice1, overdose on prescription drugs kills 15 times more people each year than methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine combined. Prescription pain relievers are the most commonly prescribed and abused of all prescription drugs.
Nearly half of all unintentional poisoning deaths in the State of Montana can be attributed to narcotics and hallucinogens, with more than 90 percent of those including an opioid agent. The top prescription medications discovered in deaths related to drug abuse include:
- Oxycodone, with name brands such as OxyContin and Percocet
- Hydrocodone, with name brands such as Vicodin and Lortab
- Methadone, which is used to treat other addictions
- Fentanyl, which is 100 times more potent than morphine
Oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone each kills more people every year than methamphetamine, with Fentanyl being just slightly less than methamphetamine in death rate. While many of those who abuse prescription drugs obtain them illegally, there are many people who obtain prescription drugs through legitimate sources and then proceed to misuse or abuse these medications. While doctor and pharmacy hopping are just some of the measures used for people to obtain more prescription pain killers, people on the government sponsored insurance called Medicaid will have a harder time engaging in this practice. According to a report provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in cooperation with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials2, Medicaid recipients who are caught using multiple doctors or pharmacies to fill prescriptions for pain killers will be designated to only one provider and one pharmacy where they will be able to fill all future prescriptions for controlled substances. While this will not alleviate the problem, it can help to limit the amount of prescription pain killers that may become involved with overdose.
Teen Drug Use
Teen drug use is a serious issue for the youth population in the State of Montana. While illegal drug use is at less than 9 percent for the national population and 11 percent for Montana overall, teen use of illegal substances is at about 13 percent of the population. Marijuana and prescription drugs are the most commonly used illegal drugs for these younger residents.
According to self reports on a survey given by the Montana Office of Public Instruction3, nearly 40 percent of teenagers from 8th through 12th grade have tried marijuana at least once in their lifetimes, with 21 percent noted to have used marijuana in the past 30 days.
Many teens turn to illicit use of prescription drugs because they are easier to come by and may be as close as their parent’s medicine cabinet. Even if someone in the home does not have prescription medications on hand, they are readily available through friends and other relatives. 16 percent of high school age kids admitted to using prescription drugs illegally at some point in their lifetimes. Teenagers may be unaware that sharing or taking these drugs is illegal because they are available at the local pharmacy with a prescription. There is also the misconception that prescription drugs are safer than illegal drugs, making it more likely that teens will try a prescription drug over other types of illicit substances.
While the high percentage of marijuana and prescription drug use in teens is alarming, the percentages for use of other illegal drugs by kids is just as disturbing. The percentage of youth who used other drugs at some point in their lifetimes is as follows:
- Inhalants – about 10 percent
- Ecstacy – over 8 percent
- Cocaine or crack – more than 6 percent
- Methamphetamine – almost 4 percent
- Heroin – nearly 3 percent
Native Americans/Alaskan Natives
There are seven Indian Reservations in the State of Montana that are designated for Native American and Alaskan Natives. These reservations fall under their own legal jurisdictions so much of the drug use and drug-related activities that occur on these reservations is not reported in traditional state and federal sources. There are more than 120 sworn law enforcement officers designated to specific Reservations.
While most of the substance abuse that occurs on Reservations is that of alcohol abuse, much of the crime rate can be attributed to illicit drug use as well. The same drugs that are available in the rest of the State are also available on the Reservations, with marijuana topping the list as in the rest of Montana. The Bureau of Indian Affairs Of?ce of Law Enforcement and Security in Region 5, which contains Reservations in the State of Montana, has begun to provide information to the Department of the Montana Board of Crime Control to provide more accurate statistics regarding criminal activity that occurs on the Reservations, including that as a result of illegal drug use.
While meth use is not currently considered a serious issue as it was until 2005, when Montana ranked 5th overall in the country for methamphetamine abuse. In fact, statistics showed that nearly half of all criminal incarcerations in the State could be attributed to meth. The State overcame its methamphetamine problem with the help of graphic advertisements sponsored by the Montana Meth Project4. These advertisements were credited for taking Montana from the top 5 states for meth abuse down to ranking 39th for all 50 states. The ads portrayed the ugly reality of meth use, from the serious physical decay to the related apathy and death associated with meth and its users.
While some claim that methamphetamine use was already on a downward trend, many credit the Montana Meth Project for helping reduce meth use so drastically within the State, at least among the younger population. In fact, the ads appeared to work so well that the Montana Meth Project plans to expand its ad campaign to include new ads portraying the dangers of prescription drug abuse in an effort to help reduce this increasing problem for the State of Montana and its youth.
While methamphetamine use is still much lower than the 2005 statistics, according to statistical information provided by the White House from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration5, meth use appears to be gradually increasing each year for the past few years since reaching a low in 2009, making for potential problems in the future.
Crime Rates Related to Drug Use
While overall crime rates for the State of Montana are remaining fairly stable despite a continual increase in the population, illegal drug use remains high. Most criminal charges that are related to drug use and abuse in the State of Montana involve some type of possessions charge. According to data provided by the Department of Montana Board of Crime Control6, the most common drug-related crimes involve possession of dangerous drugs and possession of drug-related paraphernalia. Marijuana, illicit use of prescription drugs, and methamphetamine top the list for drugs most commonly involved in these types of crimes.
- Marijuana – 67.2%
- Prescription drugs – 13.5%
- Methamphetamine – 5.5%
There has been a large increase in the number of gangs, especially in smaller cities. This has brought with it an increase in gang-related criminal activity, much of which includes drug-related occurrences, such as abuse and sales. Rural areas have actually seen a decrease in gangs over the past few years.
Popular Drugs Used in the State
Marijuana, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs are the most commonly abused drugs in the State of Montana, according to information obtained from self reports, substance abuse treatment admissions, and criminal charges statistics.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug overall in Montana. The widespread availability of marijuana from major cities to rural areas makes this the drug of choice for those who use illegal substances. Marijuana accounts for nearly 70 percent of drug-related arrests and almost 50 percent of admissions to substance abuse treatment facilities.
Prescription drugs are the second most abused drug in the State of Montana. This increase in prescription drug abuse is so severe and widely under-reported that it is often referred to as the invisible epidemic. Often, a problem is not identified until an overdose occurs. Illegal use of prescription drugs accounts for about 13 percent of drug arrests and more than 20 percent of drug treatment admissions.
While methamphetamine use has decreased rapidly since 2005, meth is still the third most common drug used in the State of Montana, accounting for more than 5 percent of drug-related arrests and about 20 percent of substance abuse treatment admissions.
Other Illegal Drugs in Montana
While other illegal drugs can be found in Montana, they are not as readily available or abused as much as the top three. However, in larger cities and college towns, there is a readily available supply of cocaine and club drugs such as ecstasy, GHB, and Ketamine. Use of these drugs is becoming more of an issue in cities such as Billings, Great Falls, Bozeman, and Missoula. For now, LSD supplies appear to be contained within the college communities, and heroin use appears limited to Missoula and surrounding areas in the western portion of the State.
Deaths Associated with Drug Use
Although Montana ranks 44th in the nation due to the size of its population, it ranks 21st in deaths due to drug overdose. The mortality rate for drug overdose has nearly tripled in the State of Montana since the year 2000 and while close, this rate remains higher than the national average. Across the country, drugs can be tied to about 13 deaths per 100,000 people. In Montana, this number is around 14 deaths per 100,000 people.
Influences on Drug Use in the State of Montana
While a lot of drug use in the State of Montana can be attributed to availability and familiarity, some might point fingers to place blame on the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. There is also an influx of workers for the Bakken oil fields, which has brought with it a lot of money and opportunities to spend this money in nearby areas of the State.
Availability and Familiarity
Montana is a state with a fairly small population and lots of wide open spaces. Boredom and lack of options often lead to drug use in areas such as this. The main drugs of choice, marijuana, prescription drugs, and methamphetamine, are widely available for purchase and are familiar to the general population. The effects of using these drugs are also well known, leading to an increase of new users every year. Other drugs that are currently limited to larger cities and the college towns may expand their range as they become more available and people become more familiar with their intended effects.
Marijuana is legal for some users with certain medical conditions and completion of the proper paperwork through the patient’s doctor. In all states with legalized use of marijuana for medical purposes, there are people who claim this is the reason for increased drug use in their state, especially by teens. However, studies show no such increase in marijuana or other drug use in states that have medical marijuana laws. In an article by Ryan Jaslow for CBS News, studies show there is no such increase in states with medical marijuana laws.
There is concern that marijuana use becomes more widely accepted in those states and that the drug will be more readily available. While the population of those states that have accepted marijuana for medical purposes may have a more lenient view toward marijuana use than states who prohibit any use of the drug, this does not make it more readily available. Distribution and sale of marijuana for medical purposes is highly regulated in these states, making it no more available to the general population than in any other state.
Bakken Oil Fields
In the Montana area near Bakken, there is a phenomenal increase in the arrest rate that is related to drug use. With the influx of tens of thousands of workers to the oil fields, there is an increase in drugs and crime.
While this increase in drug use is attributed to the large amounts of money being thrown into local economies, it is not necessarily only the new workers who are to blame for the higher rate of drug abuse. The money the workers make is often spent in the area, triggering a spark in the economy that benefits many local residents. The increase in population from the oil field workers also brings in a bad element looking to cash in on some new-found wealth, often through selling drugs.
The Mexican drug cartels have developed a foothold in the Bakken area, distributing mainly drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin by pounds and kilograms in total drug distribution. The Bakken formation spans across different criminal jurisdictions, making it difficult to stop the influx of large amounts of drugs in the area. Local law enforcement agencies are hoping to gain support and assistance from the oil companies who employ workers in the Bakken area to find a way to reduce this illegal drug use and the impact it has on Montana residents.
Montana Drug Rehab Is The Best Solution
The staff at Montana drug rehab addiction treatment programs are more than happy to help individuals decide which program is right for them. The staff will help educate the individual on their program and all the details involved. Anyone who would like to admit themselves to a drug or alcohol addiction treatment program in Montana should talk to the staff at different drug rehab programs to decide which program would best suit their schedule.