Montana is gorgeous big-sky country, and it is also damn isolated and boring. Apparently some of Montana’s kids are now turning to prescription opiates to liven things up a bit.
The Missioulian is covering a two-day conference at the University of Montana bringing together law enforcement and treatment providers to discuss how to address chronic pain and addiction.
According to Montana state crime lab statistics, in 2008, the year for which most recent data are available, at least 320 Montanans died as a result of prescription drug overdoses. The Missoulian reports more people died from prescription drugs in 2008 than from car accidents. In addition,
A federal study ranked Montana third per capita for the number of adolescents abusing prescription drugs, finding that nearly 10 percent of Montana’s youth is abusing prescription opiates.
The state attorney general and 240 treatment providers talked about how to treat both addiction and chronic pain effectively. Which is great: usually there’s a lot of talk about how to lock up all the junkies. The AG said,
I don’t believe that by any measure we are going to arrest and prosecute our way out of this problem. It would be not only naïve but misplaced to believe that is the case. We need effective drug treatment.