Commentary: WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Representatives Steve Pearce, Ben Ray Luján and Michelle Lujan Grisham announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ) has awarded $1,173,835 in grants to New Mexico for efforts to combat opioid and substance abuse in the state. The grants include $580,247 for the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) to expand and improve identification of and support for individuals who survive drug overdoses; $298,594 for the city of Santa Fe to implement the Santa Fe Opioid Overdose Outreach Project; and $294,994 for the city of Albuquerque to implement the Albuquerque Peer to Peer program.
“New Mexico families and communities know too well the devastation of the opioid and drug abuse epidemic, and I am glad to have worked to secure these badly-needed resources to help individuals fighting addiction,” Udall said. “These grants will save lives by funding projects that improve our prevention, treatment and outreach efforts to help stop drug abuse before it starts and to help put New Mexicans grappling with drug addiction on the road to recovery. With these grants, individuals who have survived drug overdose will have better access to the resources they need to get healthy, and New Mexico communities will have more effective tools to combat this tragic crisis. These are important funds, but much more needs to be done to address this public health emergency, and I will continue fighting for the resources New Mexico families and communities need.”
“The opioid addiction epidemic has been deeply felt in communities across New Mexico. Too many families have lost loved ones and many more are struggling to find treatment and recovery resources for a father, mother, son, daughter, or for themselves,” Heinrich said. “We know that evidence-based treatment works, but it is only possible when we invest in prevention and rehabilitation programs. With this critical funding, organizations on the front lines of confronting this epidemic can help families access much-needed treatment and support communities in preventing substance abuse before it begins.”
“In New Mexico, we’ve seen families, friends, and neighbors struggle with the heartbreak and loss brought on by opioid and drug addiction,” Pearce said. “Opioid overdoses are rising at a frightening rate across the nation, and our communities must step up to fight this problem together. These grants provide vital assistance to ensure that we can continue to fight addiction in New Mexico. This is not a problem that can be battled alone, and I’ll continue working with my colleagues in the delegation to better combat this crisis.”
“The opioid epidemic has hit a number of communities in New Mexico particularly hard,” Luján said. “By providing additional resources to local treatment and prevention facilities, this funding will enable New Mexico to more effectively combat the devastation caused by addiction in our state. Improving the quality of treatment and expanding access to that care is critically important and these grants will help us to save lives by doing just that.”
“The opioid epidemic has killed too many people, ripped too many families apart, and destroyed too many communities,” Lujan Grisham said. “Our law enforcement agencies and health care providers are already overburdened and stretched to their limits. People are dying because they do not have the help they need. This funding will help fight this epidemic.”
The DOJ grants include:
-$580,247 for the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) to partner with Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe County and Presbyterian Española Hospital in Rio Arriba County to expand the identification of individuals who experience drug overdoses, and ensure a peer support worker is providing information on treatment resources to those who survive an overdose.
-$298,594 for the city of Santa Fe to implement the Santa Fe Opioid Overdose Outreach Project, which aims to increase the quality and prevalence of prevention and treatment services and to reduce opioid-related fatalities through: outreach and response programs; intensive follow-up and case management with overdose survivors and their families to link them with support services and treatment; dissemination of naloxone kits, harm reduction training, and prevention education; more efficient use of data to identify potential opioid misuse; and increased collaboration across multidisciplinary sectors in the community.
-$294,994 for the city of Albuquerque to implement the Albuquerque Peer to Peer program, which seeks to more effectively connect survivors with substance abuse treatment immediately after the an overdose incident.