A comprehensive assessment of drug abuse in Yellowstone County confirms the area is seeing a rise in drug-related offenses, but it also shows a related growth in child neglect cases.
Consultant Katie Loveland, who released the assessment this week, says both the state and Yellowstone County saw an increase in drug-related offenses.
But she especially notes the rise of child neglect cases in Yellowstone County.
According to the report, child abuse and neglect cases in the county have increased 329 percent over the past decade.
"And those are certainly driven by parental substance use doinated by methamphetamine use," says Loveland.
Of the 80 percent of child neglect cases which point to substance abuse as a contributing factor, the report says the majority are related to methamphetamine.
The Yellowstone Substance Abuse Connect Coalition, which commissioned the federally-funded assessment, will meet for two days next week with other community leaders to discuss the data in the report and brainstorm solutions.