Public Health New Mexico

KUNM's Public Health New Mexico reporting project provides in-depth, investigative and continuous coverage of public health in New Mexico, with an emphasis on poverty. For all articles and web exclusive content, go to publichealthnm.org 

Police Chief: Families Crying Out For Help

Feb 1, 2017
Ed Williams / KUNM

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. 

KUNM Special 8/3 8a: KUNM has been investigating the impacts of heroin addiction on children and families in Rio Arriba County, N.M. The region's had one of the country’s highest overdose rates for decades. Ed Williams' reporting follows the lives of families and community health leaders, providing an intimate view of the opioid epidemic from the perspective of the people who have been living through it for generations.

Española Preschool Addresses Trauma, Addiction

Jan 30, 2017
Ed Williams/KUNM

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. 

Creative Commons / Pixabay

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.  

Thousands Rally In Solidarity With Women In ABQ

Jan 21, 2017
Marisa Demarco / KUNM

As more than half a million people turned up to the Women’s March in D.C., here at home, demonstrators gathered around the state. In Albuquerque, hail and wind did not deter thousands from streaming into Civic Plaza Downtown, in what has to be one of the biggest women’s rights-centric events ever in New Mexico. The message was inclusive of civil rights, protections for immigrants, health care and more. The massive crowd was jubilant. 

Albuquerque Protests Trump Presidency

Jan 21, 2017
Marisa Demarco/KUNM

In Downtown Albuquerque, street lights reflected off wet asphalt as a couple hundred nonviolent demonstrators called for political revolution. Their ranks swelled, and at first, there wasn’t a police officer in sight.

UNM Students Walk Out On Trump Inauguration

Jan 20, 2017
Anna Lande/KUNM

The sky was grey as scores of students at the University of New Mexico gathered today to protest the inauguration of President Donald Trump. Speakers took turns at a microphone, promising scrutiny and resistance to his administration. A handful of patriotic pro-Trump students turned up, too.

Bill Would Expand Medical Cannabis Access

Jan 12, 2017
Rusty Blazenhoff / Creative Commons

The state Department of Health has struggled to quickly process applications for the medical cannabis program, and supplies sometimes run short. Lawmakers have proposed a bill that could address those issues and improve access for patients.

Groups Want Gasoline Plant’s Permit Yanked

Jan 9, 2017
Rashad Mahmood

A neighborhood association and an environmental justice group say a gasoline distribution plant is polluting the air in a low-income area of Albuquerque. The city will hold a hearing on the plant Wednesday.

Union Leader: State Policies Punish Teachers

Dec 13, 2016
alkruse24 via Flickr / Creative Commons

The current teacher shortage across the nation is the worst since the 1990’s. The shortage could continue in New Mexico due to a drop in the number of students enrolled in teacher training programs.

Ed Williams

Rio Arriba County has the country’s highest rate of opioid overdose. That’s partly because a severe shortage of funding for detox and recovery programs has made it almost impossible for people to get life-saving help with their addictions.

Now Congress has passed a broad health measure that includes $1 billion for addiction treatment and prevention services.

KUNM spoke with Senator Martin Heinrich, who voted for the 21st Century Cures Act this week. 

Sarah Trujillo

It’s been almost a year since the New Mexico state auditor’s office announced a special audit of untested sexual assault kits, but law enforcement agencies across the state have made little progress. 

Opioid Bill Clears U.S. House

Dec 1, 2016
Ed Williams

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Wednesday that could bring new money to fight the nation’s opioid epidemic. It’s a measure that could have big impacts in New Mexico.

N.M. Rural Healthcare Program Could Go National

Nov 30, 2016
Ed Williams

The U.S. Senate passed a bill Tuesday to give rural patients better access to high-quality medical care using a program developed at UNM.

pixabay via CC

For a decade, local nurses lightened the load on the state’s emergency rooms by answering health questions via phone 24/7. But due to a lack of funding, the hotline will go dark on Dec. 31.

DAPL Protesters March In ABQ

Nov 15, 2016
Ed Williams/KUNM

Demonstrators are preparing for winter at their camp in North Dakota, aiming to stop a pipeline that would carry crude oil under the Missouri River from being built. Protesters marched in solidarity Albuquerque on Tuesday, Nov. 15, as part of a national day of action against the pipeline.

The opioid epidemic is a national crisis, and in Northern New Mexico it’s a problem that’s been around for decades.

For the latest in our Voices Behind the Vote series, KUNM visited the home of an addiction counselor in Rio Arriba County to hear about her thoughts on substance abuse and the presidential race.

Ed Williams

Voters in Bernalillo County are gearing up to elect a new commissioner in next week’s general election.

Republican Patricia Paiz is squaring off against Democrat Steven Michael Quezada to take over as commissioner for District 2—an area that includes the South Valley and West Mesa.

The race could shape the county’s policies on industrial pollution and community health.

Neither major party presidential candidate has made public education a central theme of their campaign in this year’s election. Still, some voters in New Mexico see education as one of the most important issues in our country.

One of those voters is John Sena, a teacher at Española Valley High School. 

Ed Williams / KUNM/Public Health New Mexico

Many New Mexicans cast their ballot for the candidate who best represents their religious and moral beliefs. For Catholic voters, that can often mean the candidate who opposes abortion rights. One of those voters is Robert Wall, a computer technician who coaches a kids’ swim team in Albuquerque. 

Would you trust your smartphone to guide your drinking habits?

A lot of people are doing just that. With many of us glued to our digital devices for much of the day, web developers and medical researchers are taking note of the potential for harnessing our phones, tablets and laptops as tools to moderate drinking, or stay sober after quitting booze.

La Montañita Co-Op Leadership Facing Ouster

Oct 11, 2016
Ed Williams/KUNM


Food co-ops today are facing big challenges that can sometimes pit management against member-owners.

 

Here in New Mexico, a group called Take Back the Co-op is organizing members of the state’s largest food cooperative to voice their concerns about recent changes at the business.

 

Co-op leadership held meetings last week to talk to members about the changes.

Group Wants Big Changes At La Montañita

Oct 5, 2016
Ed Williams

A group called Take Back the Co-op wants to make big changes at La Montañita Co-op. The group says New Mexico’s largest food cooperative has become too corporate and isn’t listening to member-owners, and are collecting signatures for a petition.

Greg Sorber / Albuquerque Journal

The defense has started putting on its case on Thursday, Sept. 29, in the trial of two Albuquerque police officers facing murder charges for shooting and killing James Boyd.  There were protests in Albuquerque after the shooting, and many people objected to police treatment of the homeless man, who had a mental illness.

Jim Thompson / Albuquerque Journal

A longtime Los Angeles police officer and trainer took the stand on Friday, Sept. 30, to testify that the Albuquerque police who were near James Boyd before he was killed were acting professionally.

Greg Sorber / Albuquerque Journal

In the trial of the two Albuquerque police officers who shot and killed James Boyd, question surfaced about why tactical officers went to the scene when they weren’t officially activated that Sunday in 2014. 

Jim Thompson / Albuquerque Journal

District Court Judge Alisa Hadfield declined Wednesday to drop the second-degree murder charges against two former Albuquerque police officers who shot and killed homeless camper James Boyd in 2014. But she did drop voluntary manslaughter charges, leaving jurors with fewer options for their verdict.

Juan Labreche / Associated Press

Defense attorneys filed a motion on Wednesday, Sept. 28, alleging misconduct by the prosecution in the trial of two former Albuquerque police officers who shot homeless camper James Boyd.

Greg Sorber / Associated Press

In the days after James Boyd was killed by police in Albuquerque, questions arose about whether officers specially trained to talk to people who are mentally ill had been sent to the scene. And it turned out, that an officer known for deescalating situations like the one was sent to the foothills that day in 2014. 

Russell Contreras / Associated Press

Most of the testimony on Tuesday, Sept. 27, during the trial of the former Albuquerque police officers who shot James Boyd came from an APD officer who was trained to talk to people with mental illnesses. 

Officer Mikal Monette spent a lot of time talking to Boyd, who had a mental illness, before things went south on that day in 2014. Monette had a reputation for being the go-to officer for crisis intervention, he said, and he’d de-escalated hundreds of situations. He told the court he’d never encountered a person he couldn’t talk down.

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