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New study ranks Montana 18th in impact of national drug epidemic

Posted at 10:31 PM, Feb 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-22 15:28:48-05

If you total up cases of substance abuse, drug crimes, and deaths, Montana ranks 18th most affected state by the national drug epidemic.

A new study, using national data, shows the epidemic contributes to a number of additional problems, including overdoses and incarceration.

The study, "Impact of Drugs Across America," was compiled by the U.S. Drug Test Centers, with data collected from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the FBI, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Data also shows many people relapse and overdose after leaving prison.

An effort is now moving forward to prevent these relapses and deaths in the form of pre-release counseling.

A Billings physician's assistant, Ari Greenberg, told Q2 abstinence alone does not work to slow the problem of drug abuse, unless it's paired with counseling or drug management.

"Addiction is not prejudiced. It affects people of all races, and all ages. So once we get them, and they're willing to accept treatment, we start working with certain medications to stabilize and provide them counseling in order to help them get back on their feet. And moving forward to what their goals are," Greenberg said.

Greenberg also stressed the importance of removing the the stigma associated with addiction and just getting help.