- Associated Press - Friday, February 17, 2017

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Lawmakers and government officials plan to discuss the effects of methamphetamine use and possible solutions during a weekend meeting at the state Capitol.

The Montana Meth Summit is set for 10 a.m. Saturday in the Old Supreme Court. The public is welcome to attend.

Sen. Eric Moore, R-Miles City, and Sen. Diane Sands, D-Missoula, said they organized the meeting to call attention to the problem and to seek information that might help guide public policy.

Lawmakers and state government officials along with county attorneys, tribal governments and federal law enforcement officers are invited.

“It’s destroying our families,” Sands said. “It’s putting enormous pressures on our prison system. And on much of our institutions. It’s a huge problem.”

While law enforcement has made progress on individual meth labs and laws have made it more difficult to obtain ingredients, such as pseudoephedrine, meth is now coming into the state from places like Mexico, where it is made in large labs, officials said.

The House on Tuesday voted 86-13 in support of a resolution calling for an interim legislative study on meth use and its effect on law enforcement, the judiciary and state and local government agencies. The study would also look at what treatment is available and what other efforts are being undertaken to reduce meth use and its effects. House Joint Resolution 6 will next be considered by the Senate Public Health, Welfare and Safety Committee.

The resolution says meth use is leading to an increase in crime, court caseloads, jail and prison populations and the number of children in foster care. About one-third of the more than 3,000 children in foster care have been removed from their homes because of parental meth use, the resolution said.

The resolution calls for developing recommendations for reducing meth use by both prevention and treatment and alleviating the effects of meth use on Montana families.

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