MISSOULA – Substance abuse continues to be one of the main issues crippling the state according to Montana Attorney General Tim Fox, who reminded those in attendance at the State of Missoula address on Wednesday.
“Large cities, small towns, urban, rural, wealthy, poor, middle class, young, old, men and women substance abuse strikes everywhere,” Fox said.
He talked to local business leaders about the effect of the growing substance abuse problem in Montana and in their organizations.
“And I don’t have to tell you that these things impact businesses — your businesses. More than a few small business owners have told me that they have trouble finding employees who show up to work on time consistently and who show up sober,” Fox said.
He added that you have to disrupt suppliers and help the people struggling through addiction by strengthening the different agencies attempting to remedy substance abuse in the state.
“Treatment for addiction and prevention efforts must be strengthened throughout the silos of government across the line separating public and private sectors,” Fox stated.
“This is a collaborative effort led by my office to bring as many key people and groups to the table as we can to encourage and change the conversation about substance use disorders in this state,” he continued.
Fox was joined by a panel of three others who have dealt with substance abuse problems in different capacities.
One was Levi Bessette who himself has dealt with substance abuse issues. He pointed out to employers in the room that all he needed was some support from his employer to do the best work he could on the job while sober.
“They know that I need to attend meetings, so there like ‘ok we will work your schedule around it so you can attend those meetings,’ because they’ve realized that if they support someone and help them to stay clean and do whatever it is that got them that job that they will have a good employee,” Bessette said.
“I’m not saying I’m the best, but I’m saying I show up and do the best I can every day. My best may differ from day-to-day but it’s still my best and they still understand and they care,” he concluded.
Fox says that meth and heroin violations are up around the state and that meth violations alone are up 500%.