What can I try?

Adult Interventions

Advice for parents, teachers, counselors, and other adults.

Find out if the youth is currently under the influence and to what degree. If you are concerned that their intoxication may be a medical emergency, call 9-1-1 or take them to the Emergency Room.

Try to find out what substances they are using and where they are getting them.

Make every effort to remove their access, or to monitor closely if it is a drug they are prescribed.

Ask about or try to find out what they are getting out of it and what need they are trying to fill. 

Talk with youth about the dangers of using drugs and alcohol.

Set clear limits with rules and consequences for what happens if they continue to use drugs or alcohol.

Let them know you are there for them and your priority is keeping them safe.

For more information about Drug use visit these sites:



Reduce Rx Drug Use/Youth Connections.com

24-hour response phone line # 406-461-2382 for help with a crisis.  Caution: If you are experiencing a true emergency (immediate danger of harm to self or others), call 911.

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Who can help?

Seek out substance abuse counseling or treatment

Treatment options specific to substance abuse include counseling with a licensed addiction counselor, assessment, individual, family and/or group counseling, education, and breath and urine analysis. These services are usually provided on a sliding fee scale. There is also a residential program for youth that need more intensive substance abuse treatment.

There are treatment options specific to substance abuse. This may include counseling with someone who is also a licensed addiction counselor, but may also include assessment, individual, family and/or group counseling, education, and possibly breath and urine analysis. These services are generally provided on a sliding fee scale. (See Turning Point).

There is also an inpatient treatment facility for youth that require more intensive substance abuse treatment. (See Teen Recovery Center).

24-hour response phone line # 406-461-2382 for help with a crisis.  Caution: If you are experiencing a true emergency (immediate danger of harm to self or others), call 911.

Treatment center information: http://www.treatmentcentersdirectory.com/

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Emergency Room

Take youth to the Emergency Room if they need medical assistance for their substance use.

Youth can be evaluated in the Emergency Room for mental health issues and possible placement in the hospital. They can arrive with parents, or with the support of law enforcement and/or other professionals. Youth must go through the process of medical screening, which can take several hours. The doctor then determines whether to call in the on-call mental health professional. This is most common when considering a placement in acute inpatient hospitalization. Law enforcement and other professionals are unlikely to stay through this process.

Parents and professionals can call the on-call mental health professional before going to the Emergency Room. The on-call mental health professional will ask for a description of what is occurring and what the concerns are. They may be able to suggest an alternative, or at the least have some information ahead of time.

If a youth needs a hospital placement or more intensive services, the Emergency Room staff explore options. For youth under 12, Shodair Children's Hospital and Billings Clinic are the in-state options. For youth over 12, Saint Patrick Hospital’s Adolescent Inpatient Program and Pathways Treatment Center are also options. If these facilities do not have available beds, there are out of state options. Parents should attempt to transport youth, but can access an ambulance under certain circumstances. Parents must be present through the intake/admission process.

If the youth does not need a hospital placement, Emergency Room staff will explore other options with the family. This may include shelter care, partial hospitalization, a safety plan, and information for follow up services. See Mental Health for more information.

Under some circumstances, parents may decide against the recommendation to hospitalize their child. This is a parent’s right, and other community based options are available. It is important to know that not following this recommendation may result in a report to Child and Family Services from the mental health or medical provider

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Call 9-1-1

Call 9-1-1 if you are concerned about serious harm and need medical assistance or support from police in getting youth to Emergency Room. Also call 9-1-1 to have youth ticketed for underage use.

When calling 9-1-1, be ready to give the dispatcher the right information. This includes name: phone number, address, date of birth, people involved, a description of the situation, and what kind of help you need. It may be helpful to inform the dispatcher of the child’s mental health issues so that the responding officer is aware. Remember that 9-1-1 is an emergency response, and the goal of the responding officer will be to ensure safety and move on to the next call.

There are several possible responses by law enforcement. Law enforcement may provide support to stabilize, transport youth to the Emergency Room for evaluation, write a ticket, and/or place a youth in detention. Once law enforcement arrives, the outcome is up to their discretion. See Law Enforcement for more information.

Also visit 9-1-1 Frequently Asked Questions.

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