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drugs in Montana

Drugs in the United States: Montana

State Facts
Population: 902,195
Law Enforcement Officers: 1,760
State Prison Population: 2,181
Probation Population: 5,906
Violent Crime Rate National Ranking: 22
2001 Federal Drug Seizures
Cocaine: 0.6 kgs.
Heroin: 0 kgs.
Methamphetamine: 3.4 kgs.
Marijuana: 136.4 kgs.
Clandestine Laboratories: 59 (DEA, state, and local)

Methamphetamine production and use remains the primary drug issue faced by law enforcement, though the emergence of club drugs (primarily Ecstasy) has escalated in the larger communities. More traditional drugs, such as cocaine and marijuana remain popular, as well as a variety of other illegal substances. Marijuana continues to be the most abused illegal drug in the state. Heroin is not a popular drug of choice in Montana. The total number of persons admitted for drug treatment in Montana for year 2001 was 4,485, representing a 1.2 percent increase from year 2000.

Cocaine: The 2001 Montana Youth Risk Survey results indicated that nine percent of high school students had used cocaine at some point. Billings and Great Falls are the primary cities with cocaine use, although cocaine and crack use is also considered to be a very serious concern on Native American reservations as well. The majority of cocaine comes from Mexican polydrug trafficking groups with sources of supply located in the state of Washington and the southwest border states. Crack cocaine is available in ounce quantities, though it is confined primarily to larger cities.

Heroin: The DEA Billings RO reports that heroin abuse and distribution is not a major law enforcement problem in the state. Heroin availability is limited and the state of Montana reports that trafficking and sales of heroin through FY-2000 (most recent information available) are declining. Mexican groups transport available heroin to the state from Los Angeles and Houston, usually trafficking in ounce and multi-ounce quantities. Black tar heroin use appears to be on the increase in the western part of the state, primarily in Missoula.

montana methamphetamine arrests Methamphetamine: Methamphetamine is increasingly available throughout Montana. Results from a survey conducted by the state of Montana indicated that thirteen percent of high school students reported using methamphetamine during 2001. Law enforcement officers across the state identify methamphetamine as the most significant drug problem in their jurisdictions. Methamphetamine cases represented 62.3 percent of all drug violators appearing in Montana courts during 2001. The majority of methamphetamine in the state is trafficked by Mexican national groups. Additionally, numerous small-scale local laboratory operators, producing up to ounce quantities of methamphetamine for personal use and/or local distribution, are appearing with more frequency. Most of these laboratories are operated by Caucasians. State and local authorities have assumed a greater seizure role in recent years.

Club Drugs: Ecstasy is becoming a significant law enforcement problem in the larger cities of Billings and Great Falls, and the college communities of Bozeman and Missoula. As raves become more common in the Billings area, Ecstasy use will likely expand. Ecstasy is typically purchased in tablet form. It is distributed by local independent dealers who travel to Denver or other larger cities to procure small quantities of one thousand or more tablets. Other Club drugs, such as GHB and Ketamine, have not manifested themselves as a serious concern as yet. LSD use and availability appear to be limited to the colleges communities of Bozeman and Missoula. LSD is not widely available in other areas of the state.

Marijuana: Marijuana is readily available throughout Montana. It is the most commonly abused drug in the state. A recent survey conducted by the Montana State Addictive and Mental Disorders Division indicated that 47 percent of all high school students had used marijuana in their lifetime. The survey also found that 27 percent described themselves as regular users. The majority of the marijuana consumed in Montana originates in Mexico. Mexican polydrug organizations transport marijuana in vehicles from the southwest border states to Montana. Locally produced marijuana is primarily grown indoors, with grows generally consisting of less than 100 plants. Law enforcement authorities did not seize or purchase sinsemilla during 2001 year. Trafficking groups normally acquire supplies of marijuana from the southwest border area and smuggle hundred-pound loads into Montana on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. Potent B.C. Bud or Kind Bud from the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada is increasing in popularity and availability. B.C. Bud is often smuggled directly into Montana across the Canadian border. This marijuana would then be transshipped to other areas of the United States.

Other Drugs: Oxycontin has already begun to demonstrate its abuse potential in Montana. Quantities of OxyContin are being illegally distributed in various areas in the state. Dilaudid and other opiate pain killers are also in demand on the illicit market.

DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams: This cooperative program with state and local law enforcement counterparts was conceived in 1995 in response to the overwhelming problem of drug-related violent crime in towns and cities across the nation. There have been 348 deployments completed resulting in 14,794 arrests of violent drug criminals as of June 2002.

Special Topics: HIDTA (High Intensity Drugs Trafficking Area): The State of Montana now participates in the Rocky Mountain HIDTA, which is based in Denver, Colorado. Montana’s involvement with HIDTA began in mid-2002. The financial support that HIDTA can provide to drug investigations will be a distinct benefit to Montana.

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Montana Drug Report Data Source: US Department of Justice, DEA