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State, local leaders gather in Bozeman to address fentanyl crisis in Montana

Posted at 5:25 PM, Aug 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-20 10:36:25-04

BOZEMAN — Governor Greg Gianforte says Montana is facing a fentanyl crisis. He and Montana Attorney General Austin Knudson as well as Gallatin County Sheriff Dan Springer were on hand at a press conference outside of Bozeman Friday to address the impact the illegal drug is having in the state.

“A crisis that’s impacted every county in Montana, the fentanyl crisis in Montana,” says Gianforte.

Gianforte says that fentanyl is becoming more common in Montana and also becoming deadlier.

“It has taken the lives of 34 Montanans through May of this year,” says Gianforte.

Gallatin County Sherriff Springer says that numbers in Gallatin County have increased.

“We’re seeing a dramatic increase in fentanyl, in the last couple of years our seizure numbers have gone way up,” says Springer

Springer says that in July the Sheriff's office seized 568 pills. According to the Montana Attorney General’s office, 20 pounds of fentanyl have been seized across the state in 2022, which is up from five pounds in 2021.

“What we’re learning is that we are more of a distribution location, stuff is coming in through the United States Postal Service,” says Springer.

Springer says as he looks statewide, Gallatin County has not seen the impact to the extent other counties across the state have.

“We have not seen the overdose deaths here in Gallatin County as similar to the ones in other counties,” says Springer.

Springer says that the county is taking an approach in two ways, by focusing on incarceration and rehab to tackle the issue in the county.

“As far as rehabilitation goes, rehabilitation is a part of that pronged approach. Issues will ultimately get solved at the local level based upon local communities banding together and figuring out solutions,” says Springer.