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addiction


  Montana received almost $4 million in federal funds for addiction recovery and treatment this week.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly named Kenzie House as Sober Beginning's third sober home. Kacy Keith and Traci Jordan recently opened Ruthie House.

Three new sober homes have opened in Billings this summer. The women behind them say dorm-style houses offer a safe space for people working through addiction. But some treatment providers say sober living homes are part of a larger system of treatment that needs improvement.

For the first time ever, federal Farm Bill grants for medicine are being aimed at treating opiod addiction. $188 thousand for that is heading to the Bighorn Valley Health Center in Southeast Montana.

Alcohol, drug and suicide (combined) deaths per 100,000 people in 2017.
National Center for Health Statistics, CDC

Montana’s state health department has received a $2.1 million grant for a game for school kids. Zoe Barnard with the department explains.

Montana Behavioral Health Alliance Executive Director Mary Windecker testifies at a state health department listening session in Helena August 1, 2018.
Eric Whitney / Montana Public Radio

Montana’s remaining addiction and mental health care providers had a lot riding on the 2019 Legislature. And they walked away from the session cautiously optimistic that they’ll soon be able to rebound from recent tough times. Almost two years ago the state health department was forced to cut almost $50 million to help balance the state budget.

Bill Aims To Protect Pregnant Women Seeking Addiction Treatment

Mar 19, 2019
Sen. Diane Sands, D-Missoula, is carrying Senate Bill 289, and says pregnant women are less likely to to seek treatment for addiction if there is a “threat of being charged with drug possession.”
Shaylee Ragar / UM Legislative News Service


In 2017, the state Department of Public Health and Human Services reported that approximately 100 babies every year experience drug withdrawal in Montana.

Now, in an effort to lower that number, lawmakers are considering a bill to help pregnant women with addictions.

Hospitalizations and ER visits for alcohol or drug use, primary or secondary diagnosis. Montana 2010 - 2014.
Montana Department of Justice

A Senate bill that aimed to make it easier to get substance abuse treatment in Montana is likely dead. The Senate adjourned Wednesday a few days before Saturday’s deadline to move bills on to the House.

Doctors groups, including the Montana and American Medical Associations, say that now, people who need help may have to wait two years for the next legislative session to cut through what they say is red tape keeping Montanans from accessing recovery options like medication-assisted treatment.

Bill Would Let Drug-Addicted Pregnant Women Get Treatment Without Prosecution

Feb 4, 2019
A baby clutches a parent's finger. Stock photo.
(PD)

Drug-addicted pregnant women could seek addiction treatment without the fear of prosecution or having their child taken away under a proposed bill in the Legislature.


The dialogue around substance abuse and mental health disorders, when it happens at all, is often shrouded in shame, blame and guilt. An event in Missoula this weekend is aiming to change that, and also to celebrate people in recovery. 

Jennifer Munger holds a sign protesting state health deparment cuts in Helena, March 1, 2018. Munger says she's recently sober and wants other people with substance abuse issues to be able to get the same treatment she had.
Corin Cates-Carney / Montana Public Radio

Access to mental health services and addiction treatment, something that has never been great in Montana, could see a significant funding reduction next month as the state health department reduces its substance disorder services.

"If I wouldn’t have had that I probably wouldn’t be alive today. They saved my life," Jennifer Munger says.

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