Justice-requested meth user report removed

Monday, April 26, 2021

KALISPELL (AP) — A needs assessment that was completed late last year by the Montana Department of Justice, but has yet to be made public, provides insight into the state’s battle with methamphetamine from the perspectives of 99 former users.

The primary goal of the project, formally titled “Methamphetamine Use in Montana,” was to learn more about “precursors to initiation and course of methamphetamine disorders among users,” the report states. A secondary focus was to better understand users’ experiences with the justice and child welfare systems, successful and unsuccessful treatment and pathways to recovery.

The assessment comes roughly two years after the justice department noted the number of annual methamphetamine-related deaths in Montana more than doubled between 2009 to 2014 and 2015 to 2018 — a trend experts say isn’t going away.

According to the final report, 39 women and 60 men with a “diverse range of experiences and identities” participated in the voluntary project. Interviews were conducted from May to September of 2020 and included a series of open-ended questions related to their personal experiences, opinions and beliefs surrounding meth use, interactions with various systems and the social circumstances associated with their substance use.

The identities of the participants — most of whom were in their initial stages of recovery when they were interviewed — were kept confidential. In addition, the 61-page report states participants may have “accidentally or purposefully over or under reported their experiences or may misremember certain experiences due to the amount of time that has passed since the event.”