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Rio Arriba County Commission Protests Federal Opioid Grant Program Focus

Marisa Demarco / KUNM
Lauren Reichelt speaks before the Rio Arriba County Commission. She's the Health and Human Services director there.

Rio Arriba County Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution on Thursday, May 24, protesting federal public health grants that are supposed to focus on white rural counties in the U.S.

Rio Arriba has had one of the highest drug death rates in the nation for decades, but no New Mexico counties were included in a list of counties that are the focus of the Rural Communities Opioid Response initiative. The program will award grants of $200,000 a year for three years for opioid addiction treatment and prevention.

Barney Trujillo is chairman of the Rio Arriba County Commission. "We hope our demographic of people is truly considered in all possibilities of help," he said.

Rio Arriba county is 71 percent Hispanic and 20 percent Native American, according to the Census.

Elaine Baumgartel was KUNM's News Director from 2013 to 2019. She was local Morning Edition host from 2007 through 2012 and she regularly hosted the station's live news and public affairs show for some years. Elaine originally came on board at KUNM as a volunteer and student employee in 2003.
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