Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The Missoula County Attorney’s Office filed 22 new felony complaints this week, which is six more than last week and higher than the weekly average. County Attorney Matt Jennings has the numbers.   

“We had five violent offenses, three endangerment crimes, three property crimes, and the anomaly this week is that we had 10 drug crimes,” Jennings said. “We take those seriously, but maybe a little bit differently than some other crimes. If somebody's only possessing a substance, we really look at that as an opportunity to get rehabilitation and get somebody’s life straightened out because we know that drugs can be a precursor to other criminal behavior, instability, or death.” 

In recent years, Jennings said he has had so many heartbreaking stories of people dying from Fentanyl overdoses or experiencing meth-induced psychosis.  

“We know that if we can use the Criminal Justice System to intervene with those folks, we can actually prevent some of those terrible things from happening,” Jennings said. “A large majority of the violent crimes and property crimes that we get are related to drugs and alcohol. We know that that's always a contributing factor. However, if somebody is dealing drugs, exposing children to drugs, or doing something else that sort of leads to other criminal behavior, then we may look at a punitive aspect of that. There could also be rehabilitation, but now you are involving other people and causing other harms to the community.” 

Jennings said they’re giving people a wake-up call but they’re also providing a foundation for them to get over some of their challenges and be more productive members of society. 

READ MORE: Missoula Police Find Drugs Near Child, Couple Gets Arrested

“I think a lot of us know somebody that's either struggled with alcohol addiction or maybe even drugs,” Jennings said. “Some of these folks are really good people, but they're off track. There are other ways that we can help get people on track. We try and work with treatment providers and social workers to get people's needs assessed to make sure that we're providing that basis for a more healthy future.” 

The Missoula County Attorney’s Office provides a weekly crime report every Friday morning at 9:00 on Talk Back. You can listen to Jennings' full report below:

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Gallery Credit: Ashley

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