Several years ago a study conducted by a drug task force cited Montana's youth as having the second highest rate of illicit-drug use in America. The study concluded Montana's effort to combat the drug trafficking and abuse problem lacked leadership, was fragmented, and was the victim of insufficient and unstable funding. We've had some successes since then, but more must be done. As Attorney General, one of my top priorities will be to ensure future efforts to combat drug trafficking and abuse are coordinated. Multiple jurisdictions all have a stake in combating drugs in Montana, but the best results are achieved only when we all work together.
It's imperative we have a strong Attorney General as Montana's chief law enforcement officer to be a catalyst to develop a comprehensive Montana drug threat assessment and strategy of attack. We must combat the problem with the proper balance of prevention, education, prosecution, incarceration, and treatment services. Since prescription drug abuse is an emerging front in Montana's war on drugs, I believe it deserves the same type of attention as street drugs. I will work to build consensus so we can implement a prescription drug monitoring program that protects privacy rights, maintains the ability of legitimate pain sufferers to obtain needed medicines, and doesn't place an inordinate burden on pharmacies in rural areas.