Tackling New Mexico's Opioid Crisis
The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) launched its “There Is Another Way” campaign with the goal of reducing the misuse of prescription opioids in New Mexico. The statewide, multifaceted campaign will be primarily focused on creating a new generation of well-informed patients and caregivers who are educated about safer pain management options and alternative pain management strategies.
Through the use of community engagement events, school outreach, radio advertising and online promotion, the campaign will drive awareness and educate the public about the dangers of misusing prescription opioids while offering alternative treatment strategies. Additionally, NMDOH will provide the community with information about how to recognize and treat opioid misuse.
The campaign is made possible by a grant from the Pfizer Inc. Naloxone Access Program. New Mexico is one of five states receiving grant funding from Pfizer to fund initiatives focused on increasing public awareness of risks of opioid addiction.
New Mexico saw substantial improvement in its national ranking for drug overdose death rate for a second consecutive year in 2016, even as opioid deaths rose significantly nationwide. The state’s drug overdose death rate improved from 8th highest in the nation in 2015 to 12th highest in 2016. Meanwhile, the national drug overdose death rate increased 21% from 2015 to 2016.
Opioid overdose is a growing public health epidemic in the United States, and New Mexico has made drug overdose prevention a major priority and policy makers have implemented comprehensive solutions to fight drug abuse in New Mexico. Initiatives include New Mexico:
strengthening Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) laws to require health care providers to check the database when prescribing opioids, leading to fewer opportunities for someone addicted to opioids to go from doctor to doctor for drugs;
became the first state to require all local and state law enforcement agencies to provide officers with naloxone, a medication that reverses opioid overdoses;
expanded legislation allowing both pharmacists and law enforcement to dispense naloxone without a prescription -- expanding access to the life-saving drug;
and removed prior authorization for Suboxone, expanded the number of methadone clinics, and the number of these clinics accepting Medicaid.
In 2018, the National Safety Council reported that New Mexico is one of only two states that has implemented all six key actions recommended to reduce prescription painkiller deaths.