By LAUREN SHUN/Montana State News
Drug overdose mortality rates in Montana have doubled since 1999, giving Montana the 21st highest drug overdose mortality rate in the nation, according to the 2013 drug abuse data from HealthyAmericans.org.
Montana Attorney General Tim Fox said, “This deadly abuse happens in our own homes, sometimes with our own medication. Yet, most of us don’t even know prescription drug abuse is happening — until it’s too late. This is Montana’s invisible epidemic.”
Drug abuse deaths contribute to more than 300 deaths in Montana annually, according to The Montana Department of Justice, making prescription drugs 15 times more deadly than heroin, meth and cocaine combined.
Many programs have been launched to help raise awareness of prescription drug abuse throughout the nation and statewide. The Montana Meth Project funded the Medicine Abuse Program in 2013 in order to raise awareness.
Executive director Amy Rue of the Montana Meth Project said, “We thought it was time to add to the conversation.”
Teenagers are the most likely age group to engage in the intake of prescription drugs. According to The Montana Meth Project, one-third of teenagers in America think taking prescription drugs that are not prescribed to them is acceptable.
With thousands of people at stake, Montana lawmakers and programs like the Montana Meth Project and the Medicine Abuse Program, hope to inform the public about the leading cause of drug-related deaths in Montana and intern save countless lives.
– Edited by Alex Heidema