Butte leaders look to tackle city’s drug and mental health issue - KXLF.com | Continuous News | Butte, Montana

Butte leaders look to tackle city’s drug and mental health issues

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BUTTE - A delegation from Butte, that included Chief Executive Dave Palmer and members of the Butte Cares Coalition, spent last week in Washington DC at a conference hosted by the Community Anti-drug Coalition of America to learn about drug abuse prevention.

“We have a meth problem and we have a growing opiate problem in Butte,” said Karen Sullivan, Health Officer of Butte-Silver Bow Board of Health.

The Butte group learned that taking an “it takes a village” approach is the best way to tackle the community’s drug problem. Another tactic is getting young people involved in the fight.

“Youth leadership is imperative to how we handle it,” said Sullivan. “Adults, like parents, and youth leadership to attack this, it has to be a collaborative approach to minimizing what we see happening in our community.”

Health leaders say Butte’s substance abuse problems are closely tied to increased mental health issues in the town.

“Right behind the number one health issue in Butte being substance abuse is mental illness and often time we find that the two are co-occurring,” said Sullivan.

These issues are also connected with the problem of suicide. Butte health officials have been working hard in youth suicide prevention in recent years.

“We continue to have adults die by suicide, particularly veterans and we need to figure out how we can duplicate what we’ve done on the youth suicide and replicate that on the adult side,” said Sullivan.

The group also got to meet with Montana’s Congressional leaders to talk about finding solutions to the problem.  

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