DOJ: News Release

Superintendent Linda McCulloch and Attorney General Mike McGrath Team Up to Prevent Meth Use

State Superintendent Linda McCulloch and Attorney General Mike McGrath today announced a new pilot program to prevent the use of methamphetamine among Montana’s young people.

“We are at the doors of a school today to illustrate the sad point that effects of methamphetamine use do not stop at the school house doors,” says Superintendent Linda McCulloch. “The costs to our children and communities are enormous. Not only in terms of the human tragedy of those who use this incredibly addictive drug, but the disruption of children’s lives coming from families which use meth.”

“Meth use also robs much needed education dollars from every child in Montana,” points out Supt. McCulloch. “The growing costs to law enforcement, the judicial system, and prison are draining valuable state dollars that could go for education.”

“The costs of methamphetamine use in Montana are staggering,” says Attorney General Mike McGrath. “And they will continue grow unless we can keep young Montanans from using meth in the first place. This partnership the Office of Public Instruction and these materials will be important resources for prevention.”

“I am pleased to join with Attorney General McGrath to increase our efforts to prevent the use of methamphetamines among Montana’s young people,” says Superintendent Linda McCulloch. “Our new ‘Tools for Schools’ program will help improve the skills and tools of local educators dealing with the meth problem.”

The “Tools for Schools” project is made possible through a $65,000 grant from the Department of Justice to the Office of Public Instruction. The funds are made available through federal “Community Oriented Policing Services” (COPS) program.

The Office of Public Instruction has contracted with Dr. Kirk Astroth at Montana State University in Bozeman to develop a pilot program to work with educators in four communities to develop programs for cooperative actions to combat the use of meth.

“As the dangers of meth use become better known, we have seen a reported decrease in its use among Montana high school students,” reports Supt. McCulloch. “In 1999, 14% of Montana students reported some level of meth use in the Montana Youth Risk Behavior Survey. In our 2003 survey, that number had dropped to 9%. The good news is 91% our students are staying away from meth. The bad news is 9% are involved with meth. This is above the national average of 8% and is way too high.”

The pilot project has brought together an 18 person “Meth Education Advisory Group” consisting of students, parents, educators, university, law enforcement, and health officials to develop materials and programs for middle and high school educators working on meth prevention.

The project plans training sessions in four pilot communities and will be distributing “tools for schools” kits to combat meth use this spring.

“Our goal is to give local educators the tools they need to prevent student use of methamphetamines,” concludes McCulloch. “By strengthening positive local school efforts and developing cooperative community programs, we can again make Montana a state free of meth addiction.”

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