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State's Strategies May Help Reduce Overdose Deaths

Ed Williams


New Mexico’s rate of opioid overdose deaths used to be one of the worst in the country, but it’s slowly been improving. A new study says some of the state’s strategies could be helping.

The National Safety Council took stock of the methods states use to prevent overdoses, and New Mexico earned perfect marks because of things like data sharing and tightened prescription rules.

But Dr. Joanna Katzman said these strategies can be a double-edged sword. She leads the University of New Mexico’s Pain Clinic.

"There’s been a tightening up of clinicians prescribing opioids and as opioids have been becoming more expensive on the street, people are turning more to heroin," Katzman said.

Overdose deaths from heroin are going up locally and nationally, Katzman said, and tighter prescription rules may keep people from becoming addicted to opioids.


The study gave our state credit for treatment efforts, but a lack of affordability and addiction service options continues to hamper progress.




KUNM’s Public Health New Mexico project is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the McCune Charitable Foundation, and the Con Alma Health Foundation.


May joined KUNM's Public Health New Mexico team in early 2018. That same year, she established the New Mexico chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and received a fellowship from the Association of Health Care Journalists. She join Colorado Public Radio in late 2019.
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