View and/or download a copy of the Opioid Use Disorder in Rural Montana Project Newsletter for October 2019 here. 


Welcome to the third newsletter from MSU Extension’s Opioid Misuse Project. Our goal here is to share relevant information about the opioid misuse situation across the nation, throughout Montana, and in our communities. Please note that this newsletter is only sent to agents and specialists who are engaged in the SAMHSA ROTA project. Feel free to respond to this email with feedback, questions, or content you would like to see added to future newsletters.

Governor’s Press Event Yesterday, “Montana Ahead of the Curve”

On Wednesday Oct 3rd we attended a Governor’s Opioid Use Disorder Press Event in Helena. It was very positive yet acknowledged the opioid situation as an “invisible epidemic”. The Governor talked about a reduction in prescription rates, an increase in take-back-boxes, and an increase in physicians obtaining MAT Waivers. Full audio files are available for you to listen. Each talk is only 5 or 6 minutes, and they are valuable educational pieces in each talk:

Governor Bullock:

Dr. Greg Holzman, State Medical Director:

Dr. Gallea, ER Doctor & President of the Montana Medical Association:

Cindy Stergar, CEO, Montana Primary Care Assoc:

Dr. Marc Mentel, Chair, State SUD Task Force:

Link to DPHHS Opioid Prescribing Report:

Media Coverage of the Event


In the News

To Curb Rise of Rural Suicides, Tester Announces Bill to Provide Resources, Awareness to Farmers


Senator: “There is no silver bullet, but this bill will provide better tools and resources for folks in rural communities to manage and reduce the stress that comes with this line of work.”

(U.S. Senate) – As cases of suicide continue to increase across rural America, U.S. Senator Jon Tester—the only working farmer in the Senate—today announced his Seeding Rural Resilience Act to bring mental health resources and awareness to rural communities…

…According to the Center for Disease Control, the suicide rate is 45 percent higher in rural America than in urban areas, and Montana already has the highest suicide rate in the country. Americans in rural communities deal with substantial isolation, significant travel times for basic health services, lack of broadband access that would enable telehealth services, and stigmas against receiving counseling.

In addition, financial burdens caused by the Trump Administration’s trade war have caused even more stress for American farmers and ranchers, making life tougher for those trying to make a living in rural communities…

The Seeding Rural Resilience Act creates three initiatives aimed at curbing the growing rate of suicides in rural America: 

  • Implements a Farmer-Facing Employee Training Program that requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to provide voluntary stress management training to Farm Service Agency, Risk Management Agency, and National Resources Conservation Service Employees.
  • Forms a partnership between the Department of Health and Human Services and USDA to create a $3 million PSA to increase public awareness of farm and ranch stress and destigmatize mental health care in rural communities.
  • Directs the Secretary of Agriculture to work with state, local, and nongovernmental stakeholders to collaborate and determine best practices for responding to farm and ranch mental stress.

Tester has been a champion for increasing rural access to health care. The Trump Administration recently adopted his Restoring Rural Residencies Act into a rule change to bring more medical professionals into rural hospitals, and he introduced two bipartisan bills that would strengthen relationships between rural hospitals and medical schools earlier this year. He also recently backed the Broadband DATA Act to make broadband mapping more accurate so providers can fill gaps in coverage, expanding access and allowing more folks to receive telehealth services.

Addicted and Pregnant: One mother shares story of delivering baby while on opioids- Read the story here.

Statewide Technical Assistance Training FULL

Statewide Technical Assistance Training - Oct 30th 9am-4pm in Helena at the Delta Marriott. This training is full.

We had an in initial guest quota of 45 and had to increase it to 80. We now have 84 RSVP’d with a waiting list. Full details available on the web site.