By Mara Silvers
Montana Free Press 

Can Montana get a grip on addiction?

Gov. Gianforte says substance abuse is a crisis with 'devastating consequences.' His HEART Fund aims to improve perennial shortcomings in care. Public health experts see plenty of promise — and pitfalls


March 17, 2021

In late January, when Mary Windecker got up to testify in front of the budget committee considering how to fund Montana’s addiction and mental health treatment programs, her words cut through a typically bureaucratic proceeding to present an uncomfortable bottom line. 

“You’re all familiar now with some of the statistics across the state,” she said. “Montana scores at the highest of every indicator we don’t want to be in.”

Windecker, director of the nonprofit Behavioral Health Alliance of Montana, was talking about the state’s suicide rates. And the percentage of children w...

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