Wakeup New Mexico
Prevent Prescription Drug and Heroin Misuse
Watch this PSA to learn more about the "Drugs and Consequences" exhibit previously hosted at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. Watch.
The DEA and Discovery Education have teamed up to launch Operation Prevention, a program geared towards fighting opioid misuse among young people. Their site includes interactive K-12 lessons, virtual field trips, resources for parents and more. Go to Operation Prevention's website.
Test your knowledge about opioids by taking this quiz.
Controlled prescription drugs
According to the New Mexico Department of Health, over 1.6 million opioid prescriptions were filled in the state in 2016. Perhaps it is no coincidence that between 2001 and 2016 New Mexico’s drug overdose death rate increased at the same time opioid sales to pharmacies increased. 1
In 2017, 88 percent of all drug overdose deaths were unintentional. Between 2013 and 2017, 36 percent of overdose deaths were due to prescription drugs, 40 percent were caused by illicit drugs, and 22 percent involved both. See the report for more details, and see the map for overall drug overderdose death rates by county.
The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, provides assistance to Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States. For information about HIDTA, please visit the HIDTA website, or click here for more information on current drug trafficking concerns in your New Mexico county.
Prescription Drugs: New Mexico’s Crisis
Prescription drug abuse has taken the nation by storm in recent years. In 2015, 2 million people had a substance use disorder related to prescription opioid painkillers in the United States.
In addition, the “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse is costing the country $78.5 billion a year (when you factor in health care, addiction treatment and more).
In New Mexico, the recent Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey (YRRS), shed light on how the opioid epidemic is affecting the state’s young people. In 2015, painkillers (used to get high, not for treatment) had the second highest prevalence of all 30-day drug use measures. The counties with the highest painkiller use rate among high schoolers that year were Mora (14.2%), Grant (13.2%) and McKinley (12.3%).
Many people become addicted to painkillers after they were prescribed by a legitimate doctor. Unfortunately, between 21 to 29 percent of people in the U.S. prescribed opioids for pain misuse them; between 8 to 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder).
In an effort to prevent the prescription opioids from being overprescribed by doctors, the New Mexico Prescription Monitoring Program was established in 2005. This program, operated by the New Mexico Board of Pharmacy, attempts to regulate prescriptions by requiring pharmacies to report all controlled substance prescriptions filled by pharmacies within seven days.
For decades, the number of fatal opioid overdoses nationwide had been steadily increasing, according to numbers from the National Vital Statistics System. But in 2018, the number of overall opioid deaths dropped to 46,802.
Unfortunately, the number of deaths from synthetic opioids - like fentanyl - continues to rise. Between 2017 and 2018, synthetic opioid deaths increased 9%.
Drug Overdoses in New Mexico
New Mexico ranked 17th in the nation in drug overdose deaths in 2017, according to the latest numbers. Between 2013 and 2017, unintentional drug overdoses accounted for almost 88% of drug overdose deaths: 36% of unintentional drug overdose deaths were caused by prescription drugs, 40% were caused by illicit drugs, and 22% involved both.
New Mexico’s Rio Arriba County had the highest total drug overdose death rate (89.9 deaths per 100,000) between 2013 and 2017. In terms of actual numbers, Bernalillo County had the highest amount of drug overdose deaths -- 791.
Almost half of the counties in New Mexico had total drug overdose death rates 1.5 times higher than the U.S. rate.
Between 2013 and 2017, 2,470 people died from drug overdose and 5,469 people went to the Emergency Room for an opioid-related overdose in the state. In addition, prescription drug overdose death was more common for women; illicit drug overdose death was more common for men.
1 New Mexico Department of Health, December 2018. Source: https://nmhealth.org/data/view/substance/2201
2 Heroin Overdose Data. Center of Disease Control and Prevention. Source: https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/data/heroin.html
Explore common misconceptions about opioids through the voices of teens. Go to Operation Prevention.
In New Mexico:
- 85% of drug overdoses are unintentional. 
- 60% of unintentional overdose deaths are caused by prescription opioids (45 percent were prescription drugs only and 15 percent involved both prescription and illicit drugs). 
- 1 in 5 high school seniors know how to get heroin easily.
- The vast majority of teens do not use heroin. In a 2017 national survey, only 0.4% of 12th graders used heroin in the past year.
- 95.5% of 12th graders disapprove of taking heroin occasionally.
- In 2016, over 600,000 people (12 or older) reported having a heroin use disorder.
PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE:
- Prescription opioid analgesics, specifically those containing oxycodone and hydrocodone, are the most common types of prescription drugs that are diverted for misuse and abused.
- Each day in the United States, over 174 people die as a result of a drug overdose.
- In 2016, an estimated 3.6 million people (aged 12 or older) reported past month misuse of opioid pain relievers.
- 53% of nonmedical users (12 years or older) reported receiving the prescription drugs they most recently used “from a friend or relative for free.”
- Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine.
- The death rate of synthetic opioids other than methadone, jumped by 72.2% from 2014 to 2015.
- During 2016 alone there were almost 29,000 reports of fentanyl (up from 1,041 reports in 2013).
1 New Mexico Department of Health. View source here.
2 Source: University of Michigan, 2017 Monitoring the Future Study. View source here.
3 Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, September 2017. View source here.
4 Source: Drug Overdose Deaths in the United States, 1999-2016. View source here.
5 Source: Prescription Drug Use and Misuse in the United States: Results from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, September 2016. View source here.
6 Source: Rudd RA, Seth P, David F, Scholl L. Increases in Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2010–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 16 December 2016. View source here.
John Herrera started experimenting with marijuana at just 11 years old. Then, at age 16, the New Mexico native tried heroin for the first time. Read more.
Need Someone to Talk to?
The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids has trained professionals to available via phone and online chat to help parents who think their loved one is struggling with addiction. Learn more.
Locally, New Mexico’s Crisis and Access Line (NMCAL) has clinical professionals available 24/7 to talk to people concerned about drug misuse, drug dependence, or drug abuse. With 5 years of service under their belt, they report that about 95% of callers “just need someone to talk to;” about 85% of their callers call about themselves; and the majority of their callers either have Medicaid or don't have any insurance and are not seeking behavioral health services. Go to their site to learn more.
Want to learn more about how NMCAL is helping the community? Check out the stats in this infographic.
The New Mexico Peer to Peer Warmline offers people a free single unified resource where you (or a loved one) can talk with someone in recovery themselves. The Warmline offers someone to talk to that has been in a place similar to what you have experienced. So if you need to talk to a peer support about any kind of emotional, mental health, or substance use concern, for yourself or to find out how to help someone else, then please call the Warmline between 3:30p MT - 11:30p MT or text the Warmline between 6p - 11p at 1-855-466-7100.
Help for Veterans
Veterans Affairs offers a number of options for those seeking treatment for substance use problems. These options include therapy, either alone with the therapist or in a group, as well as medications to help veterans reduce their use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Learn more on their website.
Indian Health Service
The Indian Health Service (IHS) works to promote safe and effective therapies to help patients and providers optimally manage pain and stop the inappropriate use of pain medications. Learn more on their website.
Treatment Services in New Mexico
If you're looking for treatment specific to opioid addiction, check out this Opioid Treatment Program Directory by SAMHSA.
Otherwise, use SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Locator at the bottom of the page to find general drug treatment facilities in your area.
The Albuquerque Police Department helps to provide a safe and secure community where the rights, history, and culture of all are respected. Get more information about Camp Fearless here.
Elks invest in their communities through programs that help children grow up healthy and drug-free, meet the needs of today’s veterans, and improve the quality of life.
The Bernalillo County Community Health Council serves as a resource and convener for those organizations, institutions and individuals with a passion for improving the health of all Bernalillo County residents.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central New Mexico serves more than 4,000 children between the ages of 5 and 18 in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho.
The BSA’s mission is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
Highland High School is one of thirteen comprehensive high schools and 8 Schools of Choice in the Albuquerque Public School system with approximately 1,400 students in grades nine through twelve.
Hayes Middle School is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
National Guard Counter Drug Task Force
Since 1989, the National Guard, working with law enforcement agencies and community based organizations, has performed interdiction and anti-drug activities in the fight against illicit drugs. Approximately 2,500 Soldiers and Airmen support more than 5,000 agencies at the local, state, and federal levels preventing illicit drugs from being imported, manufactured and distributed.
For more information on New Mexico's program, reach out to:
SSG James Howard
Office: (505) 474-2128
This community coalition seeks to understand local prevention needs and respond with research-informed strategic action.
HOPE is a collaborative effort between the University of New Mexico’s Health Sciences Center and the U.S. Attorney’s Office that is partnering with the Bernalillo County Opioid Accountability Initiative with the principal goals of protecting our communities from the dangers associated with heroin and opioid painkillers and reducing the number of opioid-related deaths in New Mexico.
Van Buren Middle School is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Wilson Middle School is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
This site, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), lists a variety of county specific and statewide resources to help New Mexico residents battling addiction.
The New Mexico Aging & Disability Resource Center assists New Mexico's older adults, caregivers and adults with disabilities and their families to understand their options, guide them in the right direction, advocate on their behalf, and improve their quality of life.
This website is a resource for individuals, families and agencies concerned with behavioral health. It provides information about behavioral health services, laws, and related news, as well as communication tools and other features.
The New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services Network of Care for Service Members, Veterans & Their Families is a one-stop-shop for virtually all services, information, support, advocacy, and much more.
If you want to get involved in the DEA 360 Strategy you can start by educating yourself on the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic, and then share what you have learned with your family, friends, community, neighbors, etc.
Join a coalition or volunteer with a partnering organization.
Properly dispose of prescription drugs.
If you have prescription drugs that have expired or you no longer need you can deposit them into prescription drop-off boxes located in your community.