N.M. agen­cies re­ceive $1M to con­front opi­oid abuse

Santa Fe New Mexican - - LOCAL & REGION - By Sami Edge

New Mex­ico has re­ceived more than $1 mil­lion in new fed­eral grant money to help com­bat some of the na­tion’s high­est rates of opi­oid de­pen­dence and over­dose — and much of it will go to Santa Fe County.

U.S. con­gres­sional del­e­gates from New Mex­ico an­nounced in a news re­lease Thurs­day that the U.S. De­part­ment of Jus­tice awarded three grants to New Mex­ico agen­cies fight­ing sub­stance abuse in the state. His­tor­i­cally, New Mex­ico has seen over­dose death rates that were among the high­est in the na­tion. In re­cent years, how­ever, the state over­dose rate has fallen from sec­ond to eighth high­est and is hold­ing steady. Some med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als see that as a sign of progress.

Ac­cord­ing to the news re­lease, the New Mex­ico De­part­ment of Health re­ceived $580,247 to work with hos­pi­tals in Santa Fe and Rio Ar­riba coun­ties to pro­vide peer sup­port work­ers and treat­ment re­sources for peo­ple who sur­vive drug over­doses.

The Santa Fe Opi­oid Over­dose Out­reach Project, a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween a mul­ti­tude of lo­cal agen­cies, won a $298,594 grant to re­duce opi­oid-re­lated deaths through ed­u­ca­tion, dis­sem­i­na­tion of the over­dose-re­ver­sal drug Nalox­one, and other out­reach and re­sponse pro­grams.

A peer-treat­ment pro­gram that con­nects over­dose sur­vivors with treat­ment in Al­bu­querque also won a $294,994 grant.

The new fund­ing comes as PBS NewsHour pre­pares to fea­ture Rio Ar­riba County’s re­sponse to the opi­oid epi­demic Fri­day as part of a se­ries called “Amer­ica Ad­dicted,” ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease from the county — whose rate of over­dose deaths, at 85.8 deaths per 100,000 res­i­dents, is more than three times higher than New Mex­ico’s and more than five times higher than the na­tional rate.

The county has been bat­tling opi­oid over­doses and de­pen­dence since the 1990s, but in re­cent years has im­ple­mented a num­ber of strate­gies to com­bat ad­dic­tion and over­dose, in­clud­ing is­su­ing the anti-over­dose med­i­ca­tion Nalox­one to po­lice of­fi­cers, sher­iff ’s deputies and in­mates re­leased from jail. As a re­sult, the news re­lease says, the county has seen a 30 per­cent de­cline in over­dose deaths.

The episode will air at 6 p.m. Fri­day on KNME Chan­nel 5.

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