Missoula was part of the Washington Territory at the time of its founding. It was a mill town that provided supplies to western settlers traveling along the Mullan Road. The Northern Pacific Railway brought raid growth and maturation of the local lumber industry in 1883. Lumber and the University of Montana and lumber was at the center of its economy for the entire 20th century. At the end of the century the lumber industry all but disappeared, leaving the University and the two hospitals as the leaders in employment. The population of Missoula, as of 2013, is 69,122.
Missoula Drug Problem
Missoula, MT is battling an uphill battle with prescription drug abuse. Like the rest of the nation, Missoula has seen an increase in prescription drug abuse and addiction. Current averages state that there are 82 painkiller prescriptions for every 100 Montanans. The state has witnessed 300 deaths related to prescription medications in 2010 and in 2011. Since 2009, the Center for Disease Control has been monitoring the prescription related drug overdose deaths. They have started to record this as a result of the skyrocketing in deaths related to prescription drug abuse. Since 2010, prescription related deaths have outnumbered motor vehicle fatalities in the state. The state now requires all prescription painkillers to be recorded by the board of Pharmacy. The list, only a few years old, is 5 million long and rapidly growing. More and more scripts are being written for opioid painkillers like OxyContin, Diluadid, Demoral and morphine. The efforts of the state seem to be working, at least statistically speaking. In 2013, there were 109 prescription related deaths and the number of individuals persecuted for prescription related incidents has fallen 70% from 2011 to 2013.
Local authorities are critical of the state programs to combat prescription drug abuse, particularly the state list. They claim that the drug registry is bound by so much ‘red tape’ that it is difficult for law enforcement to use. Physicians are required to report all prescriptions they write to patients, but are not required to check the scripts against the individuals name; many physicians do not. Several authorities have used the cite, but with varying levels of success. The process of detecting, searching, finding, signing, and passing along all the necessary documents between different departments of government is arduous. This deters individuals from using the program and curbing the problem. The program is having success in reducing the amount of fraudulent prescription drug purchases. The number has reduced from 42 to 13 in one year. Authorities believe the program is allowing physicians to turn away patients that are doctor shopping.
This program is not a requirement of physicians and pharmacies, only 56% of the state’s eligible entities use the program. This means that fraudulent prescription purchasers have a 44% chance of getting the drugs they want. Doctors choose not to use the program because their time is too costly to spend on the site. Legislation is currently working to make the program more physician friendly in hopes of closing the gap of users and non-users. Montana is looking to Wyoming’s model of the program which makes it a requirement to use the program and is easier for law enforcement to use as well.
Prescription drug abuse prevention begins with education. Individuals that use these painkillers should understand and practice responsible prescription drug consumption and understand the dangers of self-medicating or abusing these drugs. Individuals that require prescription painkillers for an injury or discomfort should recognize these drugs should not be used over an extended period of time. They should also exhaust any and all alternative to pain relief.
Missoula Drug Rehabs
Missoula is currently combating prescription drug abuse. Anyone in the Missoula area that is abusing prescription drugs or any other controlled substance should reach out for professional help. There are seven drug rehabilitation resources in the area. Going to a professional treatment center is the best way for an addict to get the help they need. Teen Recovery Center, Western Montana Addiction Services Share house, Mental Health Center, Community Medical Services, and Missoula Indian Center are great centers to help addicts overcome their addiction.
Western Montana Addiction Services is a private, non-profit, community-based organization that provides prevention, intervention, outpatient, and residential services to addicts and their families in the Missoula county area of Western Montana. The program offers a range of services to the young adults of that community. In after-school based lessons of prevention, information and referral, and parenting classes. The program also works with the entire community to help reduce the negative effects of substance abuse. The services offered are outpatient clinical services and residential/ inpatient services. The Missoula branch of Western Montana Addiction Services offers chemical dependency evaluations, case management, intensive outpatient program, Level I relapse prevention, continuing care, DUI monitoring and other outpatient services. Their clinical services are renewed and licensed annually by the State of Montana. They accept several insurance providers and offer offset costs for those in need.
Share House is a residential and integrated support service for co-occurring addicts that are homeless. It provides services to both male and female patients in their 18 bed facility. The staff is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The goal of Share House is for individuals to gain self-sufficiency while in this recovery program. It is part of the Missoula community effort to reduce homelessness, providing a drug-free supportive living environment, case management services, life skills groups, rehab aide services, coordinates referrals, employment, vocational planning, nutritional and medical care, and permanent housing. The service has several spaces for those individuals suffering from a mental health issue that is co-occurring with their substance abuse problem. The facility also offers drug testing to the community for a small fee.
Community Medical Services offers treatment options for those in the Missoula with drug replacement therapy, pain killer, heroin, cocaine, alcohol, and methamphetamine addictions. Their services cater to pregnancy, returning vets, criminal justice, VA and probation services, and hearing impaired patients. This outpatient treatment facility has medication monitoring, counseling, case management, SMI/Co-Occurring Disorders, and Medicaid is accepted. Their goal is to wean opiate addicts off of illicit drug use and provide them with the tools for long-term sobriety. The Missoula facility is similar to those throughout the state.