Federal grant of $200,000 to help Yellowstone Substance Abuse Connect develop community plan
BILLINGS—A $200,000 federal grant has been awarded to help fund efforts of Yellowstone Substance Abuse Connect to increase prevention and treatment efforts as part of a larger initiative to reduce violent crime in the community, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme announced today.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy awarded $200,000 to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which will fund Yellowstone Connect and their efforts.
The grant is the second major award from ONDCP for this effort. Last October, a $358,741 grant launched Yellowstone Connect and their project to create a community plan by 2020 for prevention, treatment and diversion.
Yellowstone Connect was organized though the leadership of United Way of Yellowstone County and Project Safe Neighborhoods, which is a Department of Justice initiative reinvigorated two years ago to reduce violent crime. Yellowstone Connect is a coalition of more than 82 area nonprofit organizations and governmental entities. The community plan will be available to other communities.
“We are excited to receive this second grant, which will continue the important work Yellowstone Connect is doing create a community plan to address substance abuse. Enforcement is only a part of the solution to reducing violent crime. We need the community’s help and support to reduce drug demand through prevention, treatment and drug court diversion,” U.S. Attorney Alme said.
“I want to thank all of our PSN federal, state and local law enforcement, and probation and parole partners for their outstanding work to make this community safer. I also want to thank the Rocky Mountain HIDTA Executive Board and other members of the Montana Sub Committee, including Bryan Lockerby, administrator of the Montana Division of Criminal Investigation, and Billings Police Chief Rich St. John. In addition, I want to recognize United Way of Yellowstone County for its leadership, the City of Billings for administering the grant, and all of the Yellowstone Connect partners for their commitment to reducing the demand for meth in this community,” U.S. Attorney Alme said.
“These additional HIDTA funds are game-changing for the coalition’s ability to move to action. I want to thank Project Safe Neighborhoods and our HIDTA partners for making this possible -- especially U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme, and Billings Police Chief Rich St. John. I also want to thank our entire Substance Abuse Connect executive team, consultants, and all two hundred plus coalition members who have contributed to the work so far. With this new funding, I believe we will soon be celebrating prevention, treatment, and diversion wins,” said Kristin Lundgren, United Way’s Director of Impact.
Through PSN in Yellowstone County, federal, state and local law enforcement and probation and parole identified methamphetamine trafficking as the leading cause for an increase in violent crime and have focused on arresting and prosecuting drug traffickers, armed robbers and violent felons with firearms. The enforcement partners also recognize that meth prevention, treatment and court diversion are necessary to reduce violence.
Yellowstone Connect, established in May 2018, has worked with a series of consultants to complete an in-depth assessment of substance abuse in the community, map services and gaps, learn about what is working elsewhere, and engage the community in a rigorous planning process to establish priorities for action in prevention, treatment, and diversion. Their plan will be completed by December 31, 2019.
For more information about Yellowstone Connect, contact Kristin Lundgren, at 406-272-8505.
Clair Johnson Howard
Public Information Officer