Drug Abuse Trends in Billings, Montana
Billings is the largest city in the state of Montana with approximately 169,676 residents. Nicknamed the “Magic City” due to the population growth brought by the railroad, the city continues to experience higher rates of growth than any Montana city. Rural, farming, and oil field-cultures contribute to the high usage rates of Billing’s most commonly abused substances – alcohol and methamphetamines.
The most commonly used addictive substance in the region is alcohol. Authorities estimate that roughly 66,500 Montanans abuse alcohol or have a dependency. One in five adults reported binge drinking in the last month in one 2016 Montana survey. Furthermore, 70% of high school teens reported drinking at least once. Of students currently drinking, 61% reported binge drinking. Consequently, the alcohol-related death rate in Montana is the highest in the country. 34% of 224 traffic fatalities in 2015 involved drunk driving.
Opioids, particularly prescription and synthetic opioids, contribute to more drug poisoning deaths than any other substance in the state. Of all drug-related deaths between 2013 and 2014, 42% were opioid-related. As those with painkiller addictions in the area transitioned to cheaper, more potent heroin, overdoses and drug convictions increased. Heroin offenses skyrocketed 1,557% in just five years between 2010 and 2015.
Meth Addiction in Billings
According to state authorities, meth is the number one drug problem in Billings. The city sits along I-90 and I-94, a drug transshipment route from Washington to the oil fields of North Dakota. Drug trafficking organizations target oil workers with high hourly wages, resulting in booming meth abuse rates and criminal activity in Montana. Farm and oil workers have historically developed addictions to meth (as opposed to depressants like opioids or benzos) because of its stimulant effects (i.e. staying up for long periods of time; increased energy, alertness, and libido).
Typically, as a stimulant, individuals are more violent while using meth. The effects of meth abuse on a community often include increases in drug-related crimes and children in foster care. In Montana, meth-related charges have climbed 427% between 2010 and 2015. Subsequently, in the first six months of 2016, law enforcement seized more meth than all of the previous year. Police believe meth is involved in nearly 100% of officer-involved shootings and a majority of serious crimes. Federal prosecutors estimate that 80% of cases are meth-related.
Addiction and Abuse Statistics for Billings
In Billings’s Yellowstone County, felony drug possessions increased from 198 in 2012 to 546 in 2016.
One drug task force in Billings seized 16 pounds of meth in 2013; in the first half of 2014, 11 pounds had been confiscated.
Approximately 181 Montanans died of prescription opioid overdose between 2012 and 2015.
Addiction Treatment in Billings
Finding addiction treatment in Billings generally depends on the type of addiction and the patient’s form of payment. Authorities believe only 10% of Montana’s receive necessary substance abuse treatment annually, leaving over 15,900 Montanans without a path to recovery. Additionally, long waitlists for Medicaid patients have prevented some from entering a rehab facility.
Malcolm Horn, director of special services at the Billings addiction treatment center Rimrock Foundation, said oftentimes addicts relapse due to the extreme physical discomfort of withdrawal.
Source: Sidney Herald
To aid in recovery, many drug and alcohol rehabs will prescribe addiction treatment medications (like methadone or suboxone). However, only 8.2% of those in treatment in Montana are receiving treatment medications; nationally, 27.2% of patients receive medication. Unfortunately, less than two dozen physicians across the entire state are certified to prescribe medications to treat opioid use disorder.
Get Answers to Your Questions
If you or a loved one is ready to start the journey to recovery, it’s important to start immediately. Getting an individual suffering from addiction into treatment as soon as they have agreed to go can greatly improve their chances of success. Sometimes, this may mean traveling for rehab.
Traveling out-of-state for rehab increases your rehab therapy and amenity options – both vital for growth and comfortability. To get more information about available rehabs, speak with a dedicated treatment specialist today.
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