The Forensic Science Division of the Montana Department of Justice released its 2017 annual report today, Wednesday, July 18, and revealed some of the hard numbers behind the spread of meth and heroin throughout the state since 2011.

The full report is viewable here, but here are some of the more striking statistics and graphs culled from the report.

    • A 375% increase in methamphetamine found in postmortem cases from 2011 to 2017;
    • A 324% increase in methamphetamine found in DUI cases from 2011 to 2017;
    • A 415% increase in methamphetamine found in controlled substance cases from 2011 to 2017; and
    • A 1,234% increase in heroin found in controlled substance cases from 2011 to 2017.
Photo Courtesy of MT DoJ
Photo courtesy of MT DOJ

The above graph is particularly interesting as it shows the chemical test results from the two Montana Chemistry/Trace Units (there is one in Missoula with five chemists, and one in Billings with two chemists). The report indicates that submissions for a chemical test have doubled since 2010. Test requests can be sent in for all kinds of reasons, but are often done when a substance is found during a criminal investigation.

The results of those tests show a huge increase in heroin from just 8 samples in 2010 to over 300 in 2018, Methamphetamine likewise jumped from 381 cases in 2010 to nearly 2500 cases in 2017. Fentanyl also increased four-fold, jumping from 5 cases to 20.

While the rise of meth and heroin is frightening, there is some good news: the test results on many substance like oxycodone, methadone and morphine have gone the other direction, cut nearly in half over the past seven years.