The Montana Highway Patrol will be receiving a grant for nearly $1 million to help fight the methamphetamine crisis in the state.

Spokesman for the Montana Department of Justice, John Barnes, said the federal grant is from the Office of Community Oriented Policing.

“Montana is a large state with a small population, and right now the vast majority of the meth is coming in from Mexico, and so that means the highways are the arteries getting it here,” said Barnes. “Our efforts both on the Highway Patrol level and with our Division of Criminal Investigation, we focus on interdiction on those highways before it gets into our communities and our tribal nations where it does so much damage.”

Barnes said meth is choking the state’s court system and destroying families.

“If you talk to Child and Family Services over at the Department of Public Health and Human Services, so many of the cases they’re involved in trace back to drugs,” he said. “You talk to law enforcement officials all over the state and they’ll talk about theft and so many other problems. You connect the dots on those crimes and what’s driving them, and so often it always points back to drugs like meth.”

In 2014, the MHP launched it’s first-ever K-9 narcotic units. The six units operate out of strategic locations throughout Montana and travel the state regularly to conduct drug-interdiction operations. Deployment of the K-9 units has resulted in increased meth seizures. In 2017, the MHP seized 68 lbs. of meth, up from 13 lbs. in 2013.

All of these efforts dovetail into Attorney General Fox’s Aid Montana initiative, a broad-based effort launched in 2017 to understand and combat substance abuse in Montana.