On Tuesday at a press conference in Helena, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox released the results of a survey that he and his staff have been preparing for several months about how the state is responding to substance abuse issues.

Working through the AID, an acronym for the Addressing The Impact Of Drugs Initiative, Fox laid out some background about how pervasive the drug abuse problem has become in Montana.

"Since 1980, the drug offense rate in Montana has increased 559 percent,” Fox began. “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, and, in addition, heroin violations have increased 1557 percent from 2010 to 2015.”

Fox went on to say that the report will be a useful roadmap in finding ways to curb the problem.

“Our report will allow us to better identify how state resources are used to target substance abuse,” said Fox. “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.”

Appearing with Fox at the podium were Chief Deputy Attorney General Jon Bennion, and Chief of the Montana Highway Patrol, Colonel Tom Butler.

Fox said it is hoped that some of the recommendations made in this report may eventually be used by the 2019 Montana Legislature to craft new drug laws.

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