Three New Mexico agencies are getting $200,000 each to plan responses to the opioid crisis in rural parts of the state. One will use the funding to do regional-level evaluation and coordination in Rio Arriba and Taos Counties.
There are about 1.7 million opioid prescriptions written every year in New Mexico. The state still has a problem with opioid related deaths, but the numbers are slowly going down here even as they rise around the country.
New Mexico will receive $4.8 million in federal dollars for opioid treatment and prevention this year. The money comes from the 21st Century Cures Act, a bill signed by President Obama in December that gives states new funding to fight the opioid epidemic.
When someone addicted to heroin or prescription wants to quit, the first step is to find a detox center where they can safely go through withdrawals from the drug, but people in northern New Mexico who are trying to get help often can’t find it.
When a public health crisis gets out of control, it can overwhelm law enforcement agencies. That’s what’s happened with the Española Police Department as it deals with a decades-old opioid epidemic and all the crime that goes with it.
Research shows early childhood education is one of the most effective ways to prevent drug use later in life. That’s especially important in Rio Arriba County, where an opioid epidemic has been raging for decades.
Española has had one of the highest rates of heroin addiction in the country for decades. It’s a public health crisis that can create particular challenges for pregnant moms and the doctors that treat them.