Montana Addiction Treatment
Around 10 percent of Montana residents reported past-month illicit drug use in a 2008 study. The national average was 8 percent.
Abuse rates in Montana may be sky high, but residents are taking the next steps toward getting treatment. Most people admitted to rehab in Montana received treatment for the following drugs:
- Other opiates, including prescription drugs
- Cocaine (smoked and other route)
Drug smuggling from Canada is the primary source of Montana’s drug supply. The state’s intricate highway structure allows drug traffickers to conceal their efforts while transporting drugs across state lines. Most of the drugs that come in from Canada include crystal meth, cocaine and heroin.
In addition, Montana’s rural and mountainous landscape – including national forests and grasslands – provide traffickers with ample opportunity to avoid detection while growing marijuana.
There are two primary ways marijuana is illegally cultivated in Montana:
- Indoor cultivation: Many in-state growers conceal their activities under Montana’s medical marijuana law, which allows the at-home cultivation of up to six mature plants and 12 seedlings.
- Outdoor cultivation: This cultivation method spiked in 2010 because of operations controlled by Mexican drug trafficking organizations on public lands.
Once the marijuana is ready for distribution, it’s passed out at the retail level to residents outside of restaurants, bars and even in homes. Teens in Montana are especially susceptible to the temptation to experiment with marijuana. They’ll usually want to try it just once, but then it turns into a long-term cycle of abuse. In fact, in 2012, Montana ranked number nine for teen marijuana use.
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Laws Of Montana Drug Abuse
In 2013, Montana law enforcement officers arrested 2,556 people for drug and narcotic offenses. Many of these crimes included the possession, sale, manufacture or cultivation of illicit drugs.
Drug charges in Montana typically come with lower time spent in prison, but sky-high fines. If the crime is for possession and is a first offense, the offender may be placed on a probationary period rather than face immediate sentencing. This decision is entirely up to the judge’s discretion.
|Type of substance(s)
|Potential prison time
|Marijuana (60 g or less)
|Marijuana (more than 60 g)
|Methamphetamine and cocaine
|Opiates, including heroin and morphine
|2 – 5 years
|All controlled illicit drugs
|2 – 20 years
Medical Marijuana Laws In Montana
Montana’s medical marijuana law was enacted in 2004 and authorizes patients to possess one ounce of marijuana and up to four mature plants. The following medical conditions qualify a patient to obtain a medical marijuana prescription:
- Cachexia or wasting syndrome
- Chronic pain
- Crohn’s disease
- Severe or persistent muscle spasms
In 2011, the state passed a law that prohibited state dispensaries from providing marijuana to more than three registered patients. The law also limits the number of patients that a physician can prescribe marijuana to 25 per year.
Addiction Treatment Laws In Montana
State officials in Montana recognize that tackling addiction treatment takes a multifaceted approach – one that focuses on getting every resident into treatment and preventing future addictions from forming. Some of the ways the state is helping residents is by establishing harm reduction laws. Harm reduction laws include policies, programs and education initiatives aimed at reducing the risks of drug abuse.
Montana Meth Project
Montana’s methamphetamine abuse rates are some of the highest in the nation. While the effects of a meth addiction wreak havoc on a person’s body, it can also cause chaos in their closest relationships. In 2005, it was estimated that more than 53 percent of children in foster care were there due to a parent suffering from a debilitating meth addiction.
The Montana Meth Project is part of a large-scale prevention program aimed at significantly reducing the consequences of methamphetamine abuse.
The program, which launched in 2005 in Montana, consists of research-based outreach and public policy initiatives that communicate the dangers of meth. It also targets teens who consider using meth for the first time through a number of online, social media and televised PSAs. Since the program’s launch, teen meth use has declined 63 percent in Montana.
Montana Prescription Drug Registry (MPDR)
Plenty of states throughout the nation has their own prescription monitoring programs that keep track of the number of medications prescribed to patients. Montana’s Prescription Drug Registry (MPDR) was established in 2012 as a way for prescribers to not only identify potential drug misuse in the state, but to improve a patient’s quality of care.
Prescription drug monitoring programs work by allowing drug prescribers to access their patient’s prescription drug history. From there, prescribers can review whether a patient has shown any patterns of drug abuse.
Montana’s drug monitoring program is unique – it allows other people, aside from physicians or pharmacists, to access the database, including:
- Law enforcement officers who need to subpoena drug information related to an active investigation.
- Emergency medical professionals who need to identify the type of substances ingested by an unresponsive patient.
- Any individual who’d like a copy of their own drug prescription history.
Health care providers in Montana are encouraged to take the time and review a patient’s drug history using the MPDR. This helps them devise effective treatments plan that keeps patients who are prescribed a controlled substance safer.
Montana (Rocky Mountain) High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area
Several regions in the U.S. take part in a High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Program. They’re part of a nationwide initiative to monitor drug trafficking efforts in high-risk areas around the country.
The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) is comprised of 34 counties in four states, including Montana.
Montana’s extensive highway network and proximity to Canada makes it ideal for drug traffickers to transfer drugs within and across state lines. To crack down on drug traffickers, the Rocky Mountain HIDTA provides Montana law enforcement officers with criminal interdiction training and an information sharing system. That way, they can coordinate with other states in the Rocky Mountain HIDTA to keep track of open drug trafficking cases.
Treatment Centers In Montana
Getting treatment for an addiction is likely one of the biggest decisions you or your loved one will ever make. With so many options available in Montana and across the U.S., figuring out which rehab is right for you can be overwhelming.
The Rocky Mountain Treatment Center is just one of many of Montana’s residential rehabs to choose from. Nestled in the rolling hills of Great Falls, Montana, it offers individualized care based on a “whole person” treatment approach, rather than treating the addiction alone.
Treatment options offered by Rocky Mountain may include:
- Group therapy: Twice-daily group counseling sessions designed to uncover the root causes of addiction, and how to handle temptations in the future.
- Individual counseling: Weekly visits with a primary counselor, based on the needs of the patient.
- Spiritual awareness: Establishing positive self-esteem, self-awareness and a sense of purpose for patients in a group and individual setting.
- Twelve-step programs: A recovery support group based on the Twelve-Step program philosophy.
- Educational lectures: Informational presentations and group discussions about the phases of addiction and recovery.
- Recreational amenities: These include fitness programs and activities offered on site. Rocky Mountain offers an equine therapy program.
Many people simply choose a center that’s convenient to them without weighing other options. But by doing so, you might be missing out on getting the individualized treatment that you deserve. This is why people travel all the way across the country to attend rehabs centers like Rocky Mountain. Broadening your treatment options to other locations besides your home state allows you to be much more selective.
Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelor’s and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffrey’s desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffrey’s mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them.
- More from Jeffrey Juergens
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