Montana Attorney General Tim Fox announced on Wednesday an initiative aimed at cutting down on substance abuse in the state.
Fox took to the steps of the state Capitol to introduce the plan, called “Aid Montana: Addressing the Impact of Drugs," with some of his colleagues and state lawmakers on hand.
The Attorney General's office says 1 in 10 Montanans is dependent on or abusing alcohol or drugs.
The initiative will include a number of listening sessions across the state and a summit in the fall, with the intention of bringing information to the next legislative session in 2019 to combat the state's drug problem.
"We want to bring them a road map that outlines what needs to be done at the legislative level to efficiently and effectively combat this problem. Whether it be shifting resources to find where they are most effective or changing laws to better reflect the reality of the problem, we want policy makers to have a clear understanding of what needs to be done,” said Fox.
Fox also noted that while law enforcement will be one method of addressing substance abuse, it won't be the only approach. "Treatment, education, and coordination efforts are critical if we are to get ahead of this problem, and will be central components to our strategy," he said.
Over the summer, Fox will partner with the Montana Healthcare Foundation to host six listening sessions across the state to hear from people affected by substance abuse.
At these listening sessions, Fox says that he hopes to hear a variety of stories, including those from people who’ve been affected by drugs in their homes; businesses owners who’ve had their work place affected by substance abuse; healthcare and social work professionals who see the effects of drugs on a daily basis; and community leaders who want to find public policy solutions to address this problem.
Fox says the initiative will be paid for in part by the Department of Justice budget, as well as $3 million in grants from the Montana Healthcare Foundation.