This special edition of the AIRO Reporter was written by American Indian undergraduate students in the Initiative for Minority Student Development (IMSD) program through American Indian Research Opportunities (AIRO), a Montana State University-Bozeman department funded through the Office of the President and through grants from federal agencies.  The IMSD program is funded through a grant from the MORE Division of the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.  Dr. Jim McMillan serves as the Principal Investigator of the IMSD grant and Sara L. Young serves as the IMSD Program Director.

The students selected the topic of Crank on the Rez as a result of their concern for the growing use of this dangerous and highly addictive drug on reservations throughout Montana.  The articles they have written are the result of several weeks of researching the topic, interviewing a number of individuals on reservations throughout the state and group discussions over a period of ten weeks during the summer of 1999.  The purpose of the special edition is to increase awareness of the seriousness of this latest threat to the overall health, both physical and spiritual, of our tribal people.

Neela Bearcomesout

In the Face of Meth 

John, a twenty-year-old Northern Cheyenne, was raised on the reservation most of his life. During the time of this story he had been using methamphetamines for about two years...

Episodes from a Life of Crank

Danielle is in her twenties. She has lived on the Northern Cheyenne reservation all her life. She describes the In's and mostly the Out's of the life of 6 years of meth use...

Drug-Induced Psychosis:

During use or withdrawal from drugs, people may appear to be experiencing psychotic symptoms. The symptoms usually dissipate when the drug wears off or is no longer in the body...



Cartoon by Robin Rexroat

Tucker Harris

Neurology of Methamphetamine Use 

When most people think about the nervous system, they imagine the form and shape of the human brain. However, the nervous system is actually much more than that...

Cellular Neuroanatomy 

Your brain may look like a clump of gray slime, but it is much more complex than that. Actually, every human nervous system is tissue comprised of billions of cells, working in unison to help you function...

Jace Harwood   

Crank on the Flathead 

A hush spreads over this land. Like that moment before a storm hits, the people seems to not notice that a deadly epidemic has finally come to their town...

Crank’s Effects on Neurotransmitters in the Brain 

How fun would your life be if you were constantly bombarded by feelings of guilt and depression that trailed you every day like a shadow until the day you die? Methamphetamine users have this shadow and don’t realize it...

Cheyenne Limpy

Physiological Effects of a Methamphetamine Overdose

Brenda, a 27-year-old, Native American female arrived at Lame Deer Clinic Emergency

department at 10:30 pm, after her mother found her lying unconscious and choking on her saliva...


Cartoon by Robin Rexroat

Jewel Payne

Dear Crystal Meth 

It is going on my fourth year of taking speed. I am a senior in high school and a four-year MVP for the basketball team. I come from a good home and drive a '97 Camaro.

The Mask with Two Faces 

History tells the Indian people to be cautious of anything with two faces, telling us one thing but doing another. Just as the "trickster" disguises himself in Native American folklore or the poisoned apple in the story of Snow White maliciously infects the innocent maiden, so too does the deceitfulness of enticing drugs have a destructive outcome on their victims...

Feast or Famine 

The seductive allure of the adrenaline-like drug methamphetamine overtook Lori, a 24-year-old Lakota Sioux, instantaneously. Its energy-providing, weight-losing effects made it glamorously attractive for the unemployed single mother of four...

Neva Tall Bear    

Crank on the Crow Reservation

The Crow Tribe of Montana is located in the southeast part of Montana. Methamphetamine addiction is now an epidemic on the Crow reservation. The nation that once was made up of fierce warriors and strong women is now weakened by a new enemy, drug abuse.

The Perils of the Needle for Native Americans: Hepatitis B and C  

Methamphetamine users have several different ways of taking crank.  One method of ingesting meth is intravenous use.  This procedure puts a meth user at a high risk.


Treatment for Methamphetamine Users: Traditional Healing for a Modern Problem

It's one o'clock Sunday afternoon and Joe* is on his way to Alpha House in Billings, MT, to pick up his brother Allen for a sweat lodge ceremony.  However, Allen must be back to the Alpha House promptly by four.  A late arrival means he will have to go back to prison and finish his sentence.

Francine Washington 

Where and What is a Meth Lab? 

Do you live near a methamphetamine lab?  Chances are that you could.  What is a methamphetamine lab?

Vanessa Watts  

Methamphetamine and the Law: A Legal History of Crank 

“We have to stop meth before it becomes the crack of the 1990’s. And this legislation gives us a chance to do it,” stated President Clinton as he signed the Methamphetamine Control Act of 1996.

Healing Blackfeet Women and Their Children

"Most of the clients who come in here are not only assessed with alcohol dependency but also meth and cocaine dependency. I have been working here a long time and I see the increase of meth use," says Darrel Rides at the Door.

Second Chance for First Time Drug Offenders

The Blackfeet nation has a relatively new approach to dealing with their drug offenders—the Alternative Court.

The Road to Recovery

“I would say that a safe guess would probably be about 75 % of the clientele that we have treated in that age bracket [18 to 30 yrs] have tried or are addicted to methamphetamines.  It is that high,” stated Herman White Grass, Montana state certified chemical dependency counselor at the Blackfeet chemical dependency center

What's the Meth Problem Like in Blackfeet Country

“Yes it [meth abuse] is an epidemic as far as I am concerned…it’s a choice drug here on the reservation,”  says Richard Rutherford, the police staff Sargent on the Blackfeet Indian reservation

Blackfeet Nation Law and Order

 Last May there was semi truck parked on the edge of Browning on the way towards East Glacier.  The truck had been parked there for two or three days.  Linda Dusterhoff, nurse practioner noticed kids hanging out there all the time, out talking with two truck drivers.  So she mentioned it to her husband, Glacier County undersheriff, who reported it to the tribal police.  This report prompted an investigation which revealed the drivers were openly selling drugs right off the truck.  Linda stated,“All kinds of drugs, and it was so obvious to me.  It is weird because we do have quite a few tribal police but again they are so busy on other calls that it is not really a key thing to notice there is a truck sitting there with kids there.”

Uniting in the Struggle Against Speed

Can we put a stop to this epidemic of crank abuse and keep it from spreading through Blackfeet country?

Northern Cheyene Nation Legal Code

Crow Nation Legal Code

Basic Montana Drug Statute

Blackfeet Nation Laws

Angela Wheeler

The Dark Planet: One Crank User's

Dan used crank for the first time when he was 21 years old.

Biology, Behavior, and the Brain: Methamphetamine Addiction

Methamphetamine is a powerful drug, roaring through our reservations at an alarming rate of "speed.”


The “Crystal Method”

A glossary of crank user's terminology



Links to other sites with information on methamphetamines

          Is There a Meth Lab Cookin’ In Your Neighborhood?

          Study Finds Higher Rural Drug Use

          ABC News:  Impact of Methamphetamines

Facts & Figures from the Office of National Drug Control Policy

National Institute on Drug Abuse: Research Report Series - Methamphetamine

The Anti-meth Website 

Nurses Sources on Drugs  

To learn more about the American Indian Research Opportunities and the Initiative for Minority Student Development program, including the webpage project the students developed during the summer of 1998 at Montana State University entitled “Diabetes among Native Americans” please click on the red arrow.    

American Indian Research Opportunities                            Send email inquiries to:

312 Roberts Hall                                                          

P.O. Box 173925

Bozeman, MT 59717-3925