The most pressing public health concern facing America today is alcohol and drug misuse, substance use disorders, and addiction.

In a recent Bozeman Daily Chronicle story, it was reported that alcohol continues to be the main factor in deadly car crashes and that drug-related seizures on Montana roads are on the rise.

Over the next two years, Montana Attorney General Tim Fox has stated that his office will be spearheading an effort to develop a strategic plan that aims to combat the effects of dangerous drugs and that the Department of Justice will be working with a broad coalition of stakeholders.

Here in Gallatin County the Community-Coalition On Drug Awareness, Montana Elks Drug Awareness Program, and Gallatin County DUI Task Force will continue their efforts to address drug issues in partnership with law enforcement agencies who are on the front line.

The Community Coalition On Drug Awareness is a community-based program that provides resources and evidence-based strategies to reduce underage drinking, excessive drinking, tobacco use, impaired driving, and illegal drug use throughout Southwest Montana.

The Gallatin County DUI Task Force is a citizens group appointed by the Gallatin County Commissioners to develop and/or fund public education, awareness, and enforcement projects to reduce the number of alcohol and drug related crashes and deaths in Gallatin County.

With a “can-do” approach, our communities can have success in implementing strategies and programs to prevent alcohol and drug misuse.

That can-do attitude was demonstrated a few weeks ago when community partners brought the Bitter Pill Art Exhibit to Bozeman with the aim to show the human side of prescription drug abuse and recovery. The exhibition at the Elks Lodge showcased works from more than 30 amateur and professional artists from across Montana whose pieces examine the state’s prescription drug abuse epidemic.

Rick Gale

Bozeman