N. M. Opioid Prescriptions Taper Off, University Professor, 2 Students Overcome By Heat

Jun 24, 2017

Under Scrutiny, New Mexico Opioid Prescriptions Taper Off - Associated Press

The number of people receiving opioid pain medication prescriptions or risky duplicate prescriptions is showing a precipitous decline in New Mexico since the state ordered doctors to check a database that flags patients who get narcotics from multiple sources.

New Mexico State Epidemiologist Michael Landen tracks opioid prescription patterns in the state with the highest drug overdose death rate west of the Mississippi River.

He said Thursday the number of people receiving opioid prescriptions fell 5 percent for the first three months of the year versus the same 2016 period. The number of opioid prescriptions that overlap by at least 10 days fell by 13 percent.

On Jan. 1, New Mexico strengthened its prescription monitoring program to require that health care providers screen opioid prescriptions against a statewide electronic database.

University Professor, 2 Students Overcome By Heat Near Hatch - Associated Press

Border Patrol agents say they had to rescue a university professor and two of her students who were overcome by heat near Hatch, New Mexico.

Agents from the Las Cruces station responded to a call from the Dona Ana County Sheriff's Office requesting assistance in locating three people who were in distress Wednesday afternoon.

The three people were located about seven miles south of Hatch.

Agents say one student was severely dehydrated while the professor and the other student showed signs of heat exhaustion.

The three were taking soil samples when they were overcome by the heat.

The dehydrated student was taken a Las Cruces hospital in Las Cruces for evaluation while the professor and the other student were treated at the scene.

Their names and ages haven't been released.

Feds Investigate After Lab Improperly Ships Nuclear Material - Associated Press

Federal regulators are launching an investigation into the improper shipment of nuclear material from Los Alamos National Laboratory to other federal labs last week.

The National Nuclear Security Administration said Friday it was informed by the lab that procedures weren't followed when shipping what was only described as "special nuclear material" to facilities in California and South Carolina.

The material had been packaged for ground transport. But instead it was shipped aboard an air cargo service, which isn't allowed by federal regulations.

Officials say that once the investigation is complete, any responsible parties will be held accountable.

This marks just the latest gaffe by Los Alamos, the lab that created the atomic bomb. Criticism has been intensifying over the lab's history of safety lapses as work ramps up to produce key components for the nation's nuclear weapons cache.

Albuquerque Police Arrest 2 People In Homicide Investigation - Associated Press

Police in Albuquerque say two people have been arrested in connection with the death of a man whose burned body was found near the Cibola Campground.

Police announced Friday that 55-year-old Craig Smith and 39-year-old Evonne Jaramillo are being held in the homicide case, which remains under investigation.

They say Smith was accused of an open count of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, kidnapping, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, tampering with evidence and burglary.

Jaramillo is being held on suspicion of unlawful taking of a motor vehicle and tampering with evidence.

Police say the body of 56-year-old Terry Williams was found April 28.

He had been reported missing three days earlier after an apparent home invasion.

It's unclear if either Smith or Jaramillo has a lawyer yet.

The Latest: Arizona Governor Seeking More Wildfire Funding - Associated Press

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has declared a state of emergency to get additional funds to fight wildfires.

In the past two months, Arizona has had more than a dozen large wildfires.

Friday's declaration issues a state of emergency until additional funds are made available at the start of the new fiscal year beginning July 1.

It authorizes $200,000 of emergency funds and requests that the State Emergency Council, made up of state and legislative officials, provide the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management additional resources as needed.

New Mexico Man Gets 120 Years In Prison In Child Porn Case - Associated Press

A New Mexico man will be spending the rest of his life in federal prison for producing and distributing child pornography.

Michael Dameon Blackburn was sentenced this week to 120 years in prison. He also was ordered to pay more than $430,000 in restitution to the victims.

Federal prosecutors say the 31-year-old Blackburn was arrested in December 2013 and indicted by a federal grand jury the following month.

The investigation began after agents received information about a potential cybercrime that involved a child who might be in the Albuquerque area.

Authorities found Blackburn with two toddlers who had been left in his care while their parents were out of town. Officers learned that Blackburn had been taking photographs and making videos of the toddlers while he molested them over a period of several months.

Education Chief: New Mexico Schools Need Modern Solutions - Associated Press

New Mexico is seeing higher graduation rates and more students are reading at grade level, but a top state education official says the demands of public education are evolving and schools need to be prepared.

Christopher Ruszkowski took over as acting secretary of the Public Education Department this week.

The 36-year-old former middle school teacher worked for several years as an administrator with the Delaware Department of Education before being named in 2016 as a deputy secretary for policy and programs in New Mexico.

Ruszkowski says there's growing recognition nationwide that schools can no longer keep applying 20th-century thinking to address the needs of students who have to compete globally in the 21st century.

He says one of his priorities will be reforming and improving teacher preparation.

Albuquerque TV Truck Stolen While Crew Worked On Crime Story – Associated Press

While a television news crew was gathering footage for a story about crime in the Albuquerque downtown area, a thief drove off in the station's SUV.

The Albuquerque Journal reported the story Friday about the KOB-TV truck.

KOB News Director Michelle Donaldson says the vehicle was recovered within a half hour without police assistance by following the GPS tracking device that was on board.

She says the thief had fled the scene and the SUV was locked with the keys missing.

The crew was in the area reporting on recent concerns about crime and safety.

Donaldson says it's ironic that KOB became victims of a crime in exactly the area they were reporting about.

She says that violates the rule of never being the lead story of your own newscast.