In Montana, 1 in 10 residents abuse drugs or alcohol. Alcohol has the most widespread abuse, but residents also use marijuana, meth, heroin, and other drugs. Keep reading to learn more about the most abused drugs in Montana.

1. Alcohol

There is a lot of alcohol abuse in Montana. Over a 10-year period from 2005 to 2015, there were more ER visits for alcohol than for all other drugs combined. Over 41,000 people went to the ER for alcohol, while just under 27,000 sought emergency care for drugs.

On average, people in this state drink more than people in the rest of the country. Check out these stats:

  • 1 in 5 adults (19.8%) admitted to binge drinking in the last month. Nationwide, the number is only 16.3%.
  • 7.7% of adults are heavy drinkers, but the U.S. average is 6.3%.
  • There are 37.7 alcohol-related deaths for every 100,000 people. That is the highest rate in the country.
  • In Montana, 34% of fatal traffic accidents involve alcohol. The national average is 29%.

The problem also affects youth. Of high school students who drink, 61% say they binge drink. The state also has double the suicide rate as the rest of the country, and many people believe that is related to drug and alcohol abuse.

2. Marijuana

In 2015, 2,256 people were charged with drug offenses related to marijuana. For most cases, the offense was for possession rather than for intent to distribute. In fact, 91% of all drug offenses in this state are for possession, and nearly half are related to paraphernalia.

Check out what’s happening with marijuana in Montana:

  • In 2004, the state legalized medical marijuana.
  • In 2016, the state limited dispensaries to 3 customers each. Approximately 93% of former medical patients had to turn to the black market.
  • In November 2020, residents may vote on a measure to legalize recreational marijuana for adults.

3. Meth

Based on 1,243 offenses in 2015, meth is the third most abused drug in Montana. Between 2001 and 2017, the state experienced almost a 5 fold increase in meth cases, and officials claim that meth use contributed to the 35% increase in violent crime.

Look at these details about the meth problem in Montana:

  • Officials seized 129 pounds of meth in 2018 — over $3.5 million in street value.
  • In 2018, officials prosecuted 200 meth traffickers, armed robbers, and violent felons in Montana.
  • Homeless shelters in the state closed due to meth contamination, forcing people out into the cold.
  • At the beginning of 2020, a woman gave birth to a baby in a health clinic bathroom, 3 hours after taking meth. She was charged with endangering a child.
  • In Helena, a woman was caught selling heroin so that she could buy meth.

4. Heroin

In 2015, there were 116 criminal offenses related to heroin in Montana. Just two years later in 2017, that number jumped to 218. In fact, heroin use has been growing in Montana, just as it has throughout the rest of the country. Between 2010 and 2015, heroin violations increased by 1,557%.

The majority of people who use heroin in Montana don’t face criminal charges so those numbers are much higher. Look at these scary stats.

  • 1.7% of Montana high school students have used heroin. That number matches the national average,but it’s lower than the 4% peak in 2001.
  • 7 people died from taking heroin in Montana in 2017. Based on a state population of just 1 million people, that number is deceptively high.
  • 3,000 Montana residents reported using heroin in the last year.

5. Other Narcotics

Besides heroin, there were 276 offenses for other narcotics. This list includes synthetic opioids as well as morphine and fentanyl. Traffickers come to the state from many places, but they often drive up from Mexico.

To fight the issue, the state highway patrol formed a criminal interdiction team. This team knows how to look for red flags indicating hidden drugs, that may be missed by untrained officers. Often, traffickers build special compartments into their vehicles that can only be opened by engaging a series of switches.

6. Depressants

Finally, in terms of criminal offenses, depressants are the 6th most abused type of drug in Montana, with 68 offenses. This group includes benzos such as Xanax, barbiturates, sedatives, and sleeping pills.

Generally, people receive prescriptions for these drugs and then they sell them to other people. Mixing these drugs with alcohol can be especially dangerous.

Get Help Today!

If you are addicted to any of the most used drugs in Montana, you should seek help. To learn about your options, contact Rehab Adviser today. They can guide you toward help and recovery programs so that you can reclaim your life.

Sources: 

  1. Heroin use in Montana. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://dphhs.mt.gov/Portals/85/publichealth/documents/Epidemiology/EpiHeroinUse_2019.pdf
  2. Montana’s Drug Superhighway: Troopers form specialized team to stop interstate drug loads. (2019, February 14). Retrieved from https://www.kpax.com/news/on-special-assignment/2019/02/13/montanas-drug-superhighway-troopers-form-specialized-team-to-stop-interstate-drug-loads/
  3. NORA MABIE Great Falls Tribune. (2020, January 10). Fort Peck homeless shelters close for meth contamination. Retrieved from https://www.bozemandailychronicle.com/ap_news/montana/fort-peck-homeless-shelters-close-for-meth-contamination/article_b52f7280-9b44-5414-8920-870e9fb6afac.html
  4. Substance use in Montana. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://dojmt.gov/wp-content/uploads/Substance-Use-in-Montana-DOJ-FINAL-September-19th.pdf
  5. Willardson, M. (2019, May 26). Meth prosecutions on the rise in Montana. Retrieved from https://www.kulr8.com/news/meth-prosecutions-on-the-rise-in-montana/article_1fdda602-6a82-11e9-ae16-a72cf15b95db.html

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