New Mexico is set to receive a grant worth $9.4 million to bolster its fight against the raging opioid epidemic and substance abuse epidemics in the state. The opioid epidemic has hit the tribal communities the worst. This grant will arm them with resources, such as an opioid addiction treatment center, to effectively combat the effects of substance abuse.
Reports reveal that New Mexico’s congressional delegation members directed that a significant chunk of the grant, around $7.5 million, will be entrusted to the New Mexico Department of Human Services. The five Sandoval Indian pueblos will be given more than $1.1 million worth of funds, while the remaining amount will be divided across Taos and Ohkay Owingeh pueblos, and the El Centro Family Health.
In simpler words, the grant will help enhance the infrastructure and facilities provided by clinics across the state, alongside setting up new opioid addiction treatment centers. The grants have been facilitated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which operates under the U.S Department of Health and Human Services.
A bulk of the grants will be dedicated to opioid addiction treatment centers, overdose prevention services, recovery services, and reducing the risk factors of neonatal abstinence syndrome across newborns exposed to drug usage by pregnant users.
New Mexico’s Opioid Epidemic
The heroin and opioid epidemic have plagued new Mexico’s tribal communities and northern areas for generations. Statistics shared by the National Institute on Drug Abuse reveal that opioid overdose deaths in New Mexico rose to 537 in 2018, marking a 9% increase over the year before. Cases of opioid overdose have risen dramatically, primarily due to the increase in methamphetamine abuse.
The opioid epidemic is marked with heroin, prescription drugs and pain killers, and synthetic substances, such as carfentanil, fentanyl, and methamphetamine. New Mexico’s authorities have introduced multiple policies to curb opioid addictions. The risk factors are so grave that the state’s law enforcement personnel are equipped with overdose antidote kits to prevent fatalities.
Multiple communities and tribes across the state have been devastated and dismantled by the opioid epidemic. Its impact on the healthcare infrastructure is much worse than that of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the rise of the coronavirus crisis has coincided with increased cases of opioid abuse and overdose.
As the healthcare sector grapples with the mounting pressure of the coronavirus in New Mexico, the tribal communities have lost access to preventive care and recovery services. This grant will strengthen the state’s ability to effectively fight the opioid crisis and develop a robust healthcare infrastructure with opioid addiction treatment centers that can be accessed all New Mexican communities.
The heaviest burden of the opioid epidemic has fallen on the tribal communities, who lack access to acceptable recovery and treatment resources. The opioid addiction treatment centers available to them are underfunded and lack resources.
Much-Needed Funding to Save Lives
U.S. Senators from the state of New Mexico have welcomed the “much-needed federal funding” required to strengthen the state’s healthcare infrastructure against the soaring opioid pandemic. This grant will prove instrumental in devising policies and introducing resources that will help every New Mexican struggling against opioid addiction find treatment and life-saving resources.
From the $9,459,960 federal grant, $7,533,719 is allocated for the New Mexico Department of Human Services, $1,176,300 for the Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos, $125,000 for the Pueblo of Taos, $124,942 for the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, and $499,999 for the El Centro Family Health.
Speaking to the press, Ben Ray Lujan, the U.S. Representative for New Mexico’s 3rd congressional district, acknowledged that the opioid crisis is tearing New Mexico’s communities and families apart and dismantling the existing healthcare infrastructure with excessive pressure.
Welcoming the federal grant, Lujan said, “These strong investments will help Pueblos, and the state of New Mexico increase access to treatment, protect vulnerable newborns, and save lives. I’ll continue working to bring additional resources to New Mexico to support individuals and families struggling with addiction.”
The New Mexico communities and authorities have the resolve and power to combat the opioid crisis. However, in most areas, the healthcare sector lacks the support and funding required to provide life-saving resources to those battling addiction and their families. The funding released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will make opioid addiction treatment centers and recovery services more accessible for the tribal and marginalized communities.
U.S Senators from the New Mexico state, including Ben Ray Lujan and Senator Martin Heinrich, have been pushing hard to secure this funding. The senators pledge to continue pushing for support to enhance the accessibility of opioid treatment, preventive care, and recovery services to all New Mexicans.
This funding will also prove instrumental in effectively addressing the economic and social challenges created by addiction and the social and economic factors that give rise to opioid addiction.
U.S. Representative Xochitl Torres Small of New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional district also welcomed the funding and underscored that the opioid epidemic has continued unrestrained due to the lack of healthcare resources across New Mexico.
Torress Small said, “This funding is an important step towards ensuring providers are equipped with the resources needed to provide life-saving treatment and recovery services to our tribal communities.”
This funding is a monumental feat for a state where communities have too many loved ones to the devastating opioid epidemic. This funding will prove instrumental in setting up advanced research and healthcare facilities to provide research-driven addiction treatment, life-saving overdose preventive care, recovery assistance, and curbing the risk factors of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) in newborns.
New Mexico’s tribal and rural communities are all set to receive the infrastructure and opioid addiction treatment centers to ensure that healthcare providers can effectively reach out to the communities and deliver recovery services and life-saving treatments.
John Eckelbarger is a Business Development Representative for Stonegate Center. With a BSA in Chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin, he has an interest in the neurobiology of addiction as well as the pharmacology of drugs. He hopes to bolster Stonegate Center’s status at the forefront of addiction medicine through bold, innovative content creation. He is currently pursuing his MBA in Finance from Texas Christian University.