DOJ: News Release

McGrath: Meth Follow-Up Report Shows Change in Teens’ Behavior

HELENA – Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath released a report Monday that demonstrates the state continues to make progress against the use of methamphetamine.

Methamphetamine in Montana: A Follow-Up Report on Trends and Progress was done in conjunction with the Montana Meth Project. Trends identified in the report are based on data that includes drug task force incident reports, law enforcement statistics, crime lab reports, hospital discharge and admission information, survey results and interviews with participating agencies. McGrath’s office released a similar report in early 2007.

McGrath said statistics from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted by the Office of Public Instruction were especially encouraging.

In 2007, 4.6 percent of high school students surveyed said they’d ever used methamphetamine in their lives, down from 8.3 percent in 2005 and a peak of 13.5 percent in 1999.

And in the Prevention Needs Assessment survey conducted by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, 93 percent of Montana teens saw using meth as having “great risk.”

“Young people in Montana are getting the message,” McGrath said. “Outreach and public education by the Montana Meth Project are translating into changes in behavior. It’s good news.”

Numbers of clandestine labs used to manufacture meth also continue to decrease. In federal fiscal year 2007, just seven labs were seized in Montana.

“State and federal laws limiting access to meth precursors have made it very, very difficult to manufacture meth in Montana,” McGrath said.

Here’s a look at some of the other findings from the report released Monday:

  • Meth-related crime is decreasing. According to the Incident-Based Crime Report maintained by the Montana Board of Crime Control, agencies reported 251 meth-related drug offenses, down from 311 in 2006 and 655 in 2005. In overall meth-related offenses, there were 473 reported in 2007, compared to 735 in 2006 and 1,259 in 2005.
  • Treatment admissions to state-funded facilities are down. Patients citing meth as their primary drug decreased from 1,140 in 2006 to 769 in 2007. Total admission numbers, meantime, stayed the same.
  • At the state’s crime lab in Missoula, meth-positive toxicology tests also decreased. In toxicology tests on biological samples like tissue, blood or urine, in 2007 meth-positive tests accounted for just 8.8 percent of all tests, down from 18.5 percent in 2004 and 16.7 percent in 2005.
  • In crime lab drug-chemistry tests on samples found at crime scenes, meth accounted for 37.9 percent of all tests, down from nearly 70 percent in 2005 to about 49 percent in 2006.

“Enforcement, treatment and public education are working,” McGrath said. “The incredible efforts on the part of the Montana Meth Project to raise awareness and prevent teen meth use have made a difference.”

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