The increase of drug use in Montana is obvious from reading jail rosters and newspaper headlines but Montana Attorney General Tim Fox says that growth in substance abuse over the past three years is especially bad, and drug use has begun to stress the criminal justice system.

"Our state crime lab there in Missoula has experienced a 143 percent increase in  substance samples that test positive for methamphetamine and a 475 percent increase in substance samples that test positive for heroine," Fox said. "Unfortunately, we also know that an estimated one in ten Montanans is dependent on or abusing alcohol or drugs."

Today, April 19, Fox kickstarted “Aid Montana” an initiative to help change the way the state deals with substance abuse.

"It's time to do something different," Fox said. "We've partnered with the Montana healthcare foundation, we'll be doing a series of six town hall listening sessions across the state during the summer, then we're going to have a major summit where we'll bring  all of the stakeholders and interested people to come and talk about these issues."

The end goal of all this, is to gather evidence and opinions to help draft a plan that will appear at the next Montana Legislative session two years from now.

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