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Yellowstone County group is taking steps to address substance abuse in the community

The new documentary<em> Take Your Pills</em> spoke with over 100 college students and working adults about their use of prescription stimulants as productivity aids.

A plan to provide better access for prevention and treatment of substance abuse is developing in Yellowstone County.

According to the most recent Montana Behavioral Health Barometer, more than 90,000 Montanans suffered from substance abuse in 2019, but only half found treatment centers for their addiction.

Kristen Lundgren is executive director of the Substance Abuse Connect Coalition in Billings. She says the group is working to develop a 3-digit behavioral crisis line to help fill that gap and get people the treatment they need.

“There's a lot of stigma and it's scary. It is scary," she said. "So what we're really trying to be cognizant of is, we just need to make it easy for individuals to access help, non-stigmatized help, as early as possible."

She says the hotline should be operational by July.

The coalition’s three-year action plan that began in 2020 also aims to provide court treatments for nonviolent drug-related crimes and resources for new mothers recovering from addiction.