New action plan for combatting substance abuse and crime in Yellowstone County

Substance Abuse Connect, a coalition of 89 non-profit and government agencies, released a new action plan to substantially reduce drug-related crime in Yellowstone County. The plan has three priorities: system capacity, diversion and treatment and prevention. Details of the plan can be found here.

The coalition said violent crime rose 81% in Yellowstone County from 2010 to 2017. Child neglect cases grew 149% in the county from 2010-2018. Eighty percent of neglect cases are due to substance abuse. They say the goal is to substantially reduce drug related crime and addition through effective prevention, treatment and diversion.

About 120 people gathered Wednesday, February 12 in the Mansfield Center at St. Vincent to discuss the new plan. People from hospitals, crisis centers, law enforcement, addition recovery centers, the DEA and more were there. 

Billings Police Chief Rich St. John said, "You look at our crimes against people, or violent crimes, and a lot of property crimes, are all driven by methamphetamines or any other opiate or even marijuana to support those habits."

Chief St. John went on to say, "I would say, with very few exceptions, we do not have random acts of violence in Billings The nexus is always meth."

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