Prescription Drug Abuse Advisory Council. Just six months after taking office in June of 2009, Attorney General Steve Bullock convened the first meeting of his Prescription Drug Abuse Advisory Council. The group includes physicians, pharmacists, prosecutors, a nurse, a district court judge, student leaders, law enforcement and members of the Montana Legislature.
The Council set an aggressive course: Develop a comprehensive, Montana-made plan
to combat prescription drug abuse. The council:
- advises the attorney general on prevention strategies and policy solutions.
- serves as a liaison to their communities to spread awareness.
- identifies potential partners to help spread the message.
- examines Montana’s prevention efforts and makes recommendations to improve them.
Drug Diversion Unit. Preventing prescription drug addiction and keeping these powerful drugs out of the hands of addicts are important steps in cracking down on this epidemic. But prevention alone won’t clean out today’s dealers. For that, we need law enforcement. The Justice Department’s Division of Criminal Investigation reports that almost half — 42 percent — of the drug cases agents handled in 2009 dealt with prescription drug abuse, up from only seven percent just six years ago. To deal with this dramatic increase, Bullock successfully pursued a $1.23 million federal grant to create a six-person unit dedicated solely to fighting prescription drug abuse.
Prescription Drug Registry. In the 2011 Legislature, Bullock spearheaded the successful effort to pass a bill creating a prescription drug registry. Using the new program, administered by the Montana Board of Pharmacy, doctors and pharmacists will be able to more easily identify drug seekers and provide better care for their patients. Forty-eight states have passed similar legislation because they recognize that a registry is invaluable in curbing prescription drug diversion, and in helping doctors distinguish patients who are in legitimate need from those who are abusing their medication. For more information about the prescription drug registry, visit the registry website or contact the Board of Pharmacy at (406) 841-2355.