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Drug Addiction in Montana


Substance abuse takes many forms in modern society, including alcohol abuse, prescription medication dependence, and illegal drug abuse. Drug addiction in Montana is a huge problem that requires professional management and treatment, including access to medication and psychotherapeutic regimes. Commonly abused street drugs include the opioid heroin, the stimulants cocaine and meth, and the hallucinogen LSD. Each of these substances is associated with its own set of problems and challenges, with street drug addiction in Montana needing to be tackled on multiple levels to ensure a healthy and productive society.

Commonly Abused Street Drugs

A wide array of illicit drugs are abused in Montana, with ongoing abuse often leading to dependence and addiction. The opioid drug heroin is one of the most problematic drugs in the state, with this highly addictive substance associated with overdose fatalities, hospitalization, and increased crime rates. The stimulant cocaine, including crack cocaine and powder cocaine, also creates a range of problems for drug users, health care providers, and law enforcement officers. Methamphetamine is another serious issue in Montana, as are amphetamines, marijuana, MDMA, LSD, “bath salts,” and many other illegal substances. Street drug abuse needs to be tackled on multiple levels at the same time, including education, health care, law enforcement, and drug rehabilitation.

What is Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction is defined as the compulsive and problematic consumption of psychoactive substances. People who are addicted to drugs face a range of adverse health and social effects, including physical health damage, psychological health damage, and loss of school and work productivity. Drug addiction is often accompanied by tolerance and the existence of physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms when drug use is discontinued. While some substances cause a physical-somatic withdrawal syndrome upon cessation of use, others are associated with an emotional-motivational withdrawal syndrome. While physically addictive drugs always have psychological effects, the opposite is not necessarily the case.

Drugs of addiction can be classified according to their action, with some psychoactive substances causing central nervous system (CNS) depression upon consumption and others causing CNS stimulation. While not a fixed rule, CNS depressants are more likely to cause physical addiction than CNS stimulants. Depressants include alcohol, benzos, and prescription opioids, with illicit depressants including heroin and marijuana among others. Illegal stimulants include cocaine, methamphetamine, amphetamines, and MDMA. LSD and other psychedelics are classified as hallucinogens, with this class of drugs unlikely to cause either physical or psychological dependence.

Illicit Drug Statistics in Montana

The state of Montana has problems with many illegal drugs, with local police and health care professionals constantly dealing with the negative effects of drug abuse and addiction. While prescription drug abuse is a particularly big problem across the state, many illegal drugs are also creating issues in the community. According to Recovery Connection, 7,744 people started a drug rehabilitation program in Montana in 2010, with men accounting for 68.5 percent of admissions and women accounting for 31.5 percent. Marijuana is the most widely abused illegal substance in the state, with amphetamines, cocaine, and heroin also creating problems in the community. If you or anyone you know is living with a drug problem in Montana, it’s important to seek advice from an accredited treatment center as soon as you can.


Heroin is an opioid drug that is manufactured from the naturally occurring morphine molecule. Originally synthesized in 1874, this drug is one of the most addictive and potentially dangerous psychoactive substances in the world. While heroin, much like all opioids, does not cause many long-term physical health problems other than addiction, it is linked to high rates of overdose fatalities and crime. People who are dependent on heroin experience a physical-somatic withdrawal syndrome upon drug discontinuation, including symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and depression. Medications are often administered to help alleviate these symptoms, with behavioral therapies initiated to treat the emotional and cognitive precedents of addiction.


Cocaine is a stimulant drug taken by people to induce feelings of confidence and energy. Available as powder cocaine and crack cocaine, this drug is widely available across America. Cocaine produces a psychological withdrawal syndrome upon cessation of use, including a range of motivational and emotional reactions. Because it’s not a physically addictive substance, medications are not widely used during cocaine addiction treatment. Instead, treatment programs focus on behavioral therapy and relapse prevention measures, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational enhancement therapy (MET), family therapy, and 12-step facilitation.


Marijuana is the most common illicit psychoactive drug in America and across the world. Typically smoked but also eaten, marijuana is a special preparation of the cannabis plant consumed to induce feelings of euphoria, inspiration, and heightened mood. Marijuana is not a physically addictive substance and does not produce any physical withdrawal symptoms upon drug discontinuation. Some marijuana users become psychologically dependent on the drug, however, with distinct motivational and emotional symptoms experienced when drug use is stopped. Treatment for marijuana addiction typically includes a combination of relapse prevention and behavioral therapy schemes, including individual and group counseling.

Relapse Prevention

Relapse is an extremely common outcome of drug addiction, with roughly 50 percent of all drug treatment patients returning to drug use following a formal rehabilitation regime. Drug addiction is a learned response maintained by neuronal adaptations, with recovering addicts needing to make new physical and psychological associations if they want to avoid impulsive and compulsive behavior. Relapse prevention schemes are designed to reduce relapse rates, providing patients with the psychological guidance and practical support they need to make new choices and avoid old, unhealthy lifestyle patterns.

Don’t let this disease take over your life. Contact an addiction specialist today to learn more about different treatment options.