Marisa Demarco

Public Health New Mexico Reporter

Marisa Demarco is a journalist, musician and event curator based in Albuquerque, N.M. In December 2012, she co-founded the New Mexico Compass news website at nmcompass.com with Margaret Wright. Since then, she's helped build and launch several local websites. Demarco's spent more than a decade in journalism, editing and writing for the Weekly Alibi, the Albuquerque Tribune and UNM's Daily Lobo. Find Demarco around Albuquerque crusading for journalism, modern grassroots media, and radical, D.I.Y. art and music.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:11 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

The APD Files: Alan Gomez And Substance Abuse

Substance abuse treatment is not available for everyone who needs it in New Mexico, and this shortage is at the root of some tragic altercations with police.

Mike Gomez met me in a park in Albuquerque, holding a framed photo of his son Alan. “He was a good kid, a normal kid,” he said. “He graduated high school on time. He was a Little League All-Star.”

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Public Health New Mexico
4:44 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Lawmakers To Consider Limiting Solitary Confinement

Credit pixabay.com via CC

The use of solitary confinement on mentally ill inmates sparked expensive lawsuits in New Mexico in the last couple of years. Doña Ana County paid Stephen Slevin millions of dollars in 2013 after he spent almost two years in solitary confinement. A bill making its way through this legislative session could outlaw such lengthy stays in isolation. 

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Public Health New Mexico
6:08 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Lawsuit: UNM Shielded Athletes Accused Of Rape

Credit Arianna Sena

A former UNM student who said she was assaulted by two Lobo football players and a CNM student last year filed a lawsuit in District Court  against the university Thursday. The lawsuit alleges Title IX investigators at UNM protected the athletes by conducting a shoddy investigation. 

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Public Health New Mexico
4:38 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Senator: Moms Should Be Able To Pump Breast Milk In Jail

Credit josemanuelerre via CC

Female inmates are the fastest-growing prison population in the state. New moms and pregnant women who are heading to jail could be affected by legislation proposed this session. 

Sen. Lisa Torraco’s bill would do two things: One, it would allow new moms to pump their breast milk while they’re in jail or prison, so it can be given to their babies. 

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Public Health New Mexico
11:23 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Commissioners Postpone Tax Vote

Credit thetutoress.com via CC

The Bernalillo County Commission voted last night to postpone a tax hike for a special session that will likely happen next week. The one-quarter of 1 percent tax increase on goods and services would be divided up as follows: Half of it would go to mental health and substance abuse treatment services, and half of it would go to the county’s operational budget.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:06 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Helping Inmates Sign Up For Medicaid

Pixabay via CC

A New Mexico legislator is trying to help inmates sign up for Medicaid around the state. 

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Public Health New Mexico
11:42 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Commission To Vote On Mental Health Tax Hike

Credit SilverGryphon8 via CC

Bernalillo Commissioners will vote Tuesday night on whether to increase taxes and increase mental health care in the county.

The gross receipts tax increase of one-eighth of a percent would generate $15 to $20 million. At the top of a mental health care wish list? A crisis center where people could go to be stabilized and plugged into services, instead of being arrested and sent to jail.  

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Public Health New Mexico
5:36 pm
Thu February 12, 2015

The APD Files: Len Fuentes And Mental Health

Len Fuentes
Credit Sylvia Fuentes

You’ve heard of James Boyd, the homeless man who was killed by Albuquerque police last year. But you might not have heard of Len Fuentes. He, too, was mentally ill when he brandished a knife and was shot and killed by APD.

Fuentes’ mom said she had found mental health care for her son, but it was three days too late.   

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Public Health New Mexico
3:09 pm
Thu February 5, 2015

New Jail Chief Talks Mental Health, Methadone

Credit MDC Chief Phillip Greer

The Bernalillo County jail’s chief resigned more than nine months ago. Phillip Greer filled the position last month at the Metropolitan Detention Center, the 39th biggest jail in the country. Greer hails from Minnesota, where he was the executive director of corrections for three counties, and he has a background in assuring jails comply with national standards.  

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Public Health New Mexico
6:41 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Balderas Releases Audit, Says Attack Fraud Without Harming Citizens

Attorney General Hector Balderas announces the release of the PCG audit
Credit Marisa Demarco / KUNM

It’s his first month as attorney general and on Thursday, Jan. 29, Hector Balderas released the more than 300-page PCG audit that caused 15 behavioral health service providers to have their funding suspended. 

Since 2013, behavioral health providers in New Mexico have waited to see the details of accusations of Medicaid fraud leveled against them. 

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Public Health New Mexico
2:06 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

AG Releases Behavioral Health Audit

  Attorney General Hector Balderas released a 339-page audit by Public Consulting Group that caused the suspension of funding for 15 behavioral health providers in New Mexico.

Read the released audit here.

Arizona firms were hired to provide behavioral health services, and local providers have said they were unable to see or refute the specific fraud allegations against them. 

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Public Health New Mexico
6:58 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

End-Of-Life Decisions And The Law

Aja Riggs, one of the plaintiffs in the case, at the Court of Appeals
Credit Marisa Demarco / KUNM

In this era of modern medicine, the dying process can be prolonged. Can doctors legally prescribe fatal medications to terminally ill patients who request them?

That issue was at the heart of an Appeals Court hearing in New Mexico this week. 

Over the last 40 years, intensive care units and advances in medicine have stretched out the final days of our lives. Sometimes recovery is possible. But in other cases, it becomes a question of comfort.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:06 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Aid In Dying Case Back In Court

Credit pixabay.com via CC

Attorneys with the American Civil Liberties Union will square off with the Attorney General's Office in court on Monday, Jan. 26, about whether terminally ill New Mexicans can choose to end their lives. 

District Court Judge Nan Nash ruled a year ago that physicians in New Mexico should be able to prescribe life-ending medications to terminally ill patients. This practice is called “aid in dying,” and the distinction is patients administer the medication themselves. 

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KUNM Call In Show
12:02 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Sexual Assault On College Campuses

Take Back The Night demonstration at Concordia University
Credit Thien V. via Flickr CC

KUNM Call In Show Thu 1/22 8a: 

What options are available to survivors of on-campus sexual assault in New Mexico? How can we make campuses safer? What can be done to improve the way universities and colleges handle sexual assault?

We'd like to hear from you. Email callinshow@kunm.org, add your comments to this post, Tweet @KUNMHealth, or call in live during the show.

Guests:

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Public Health New Mexico
5:14 pm
Tue January 20, 2015

Governor Highlights CYFD Reform

Governor Susana Martinez outlined specifics for how New Mexico can better combat child abuse and neglect during her State of the State address today

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Public Health New Mexico
4:20 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Overdose-Reversing Drug Saves Hundreds In N.M.

Naloxone—brand name Narcan—is sprayed into the nose.
Credit PunchingJudy via flickr CC

A drug called naloxone reversed more than 700 overdoses in New Mexico last year. But hurdles remain for making the drug more widely available. 

Naloxone—brand name Narcan—can be prescribed by pharmacists, not just doctors, and Medicaid covers the cost. In 2014, those big policy changes resulted in a spike of overdose reversals. 

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Local News
12:02 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Albuquerque City Bus Crashes Into House

A city bus crashed into a house on the SE corner of Girard and Coal in Albuquerque, N.M.
Marisa Demarco

A city bus crashed into a house on the SE corner of the Girard and Coal intersection in Albuquerque a little after 10 a.m. this morning.

Five passengers were transported to UNM Hospital with injuries, none of which were life-threatening, said Rick De Reyes, spokesperson for the Transit Department. 

Bystanders, one of whom was a friend of the driver's, breathed a sigh of relief when the she was escorted off the bus and into an ambulance. 

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Public Health New Mexico
3:43 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Corrales Says Congress Should Ban Overuse Of Antibiotics On Big Farms

Credit en.wikipedia.org

The Village Council of Corrales is calling on Congress to stop the overuse of antibiotics on industrial livestock operations. Corrales is a bucolic village north of Albuquerque, home to about 8,500 people, some of whom keep farm animals. 

    

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Public Health New Mexico
3:33 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Lingering Concerns During WIPP Cleanup

Containers at WIPP
Credit Wikimedia Commons

As cleanup of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant commences, folks down south remain concerned about transparency and oversight.

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Public Health New Mexico
3:11 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Curanderismo In The Modern Age

Tonita Gonzales prepares for the ceremony in the North Valley of Albuquerque, N.M.
Credit Marisa Demarco

  

When we get sick, most of us make an appointment with a doctor trained in Western medicine. But in New Mexico, for some ailments people might head to their local curandero, a practitioner of regional, traditional healing. And in parts of Mexico and South America, curanderismo is sometimes the only option for medical care.           

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Public Health New Mexico
3:54 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

How APD Handles Mental Health Crisis Calls

Mentally ill James Boyd in a standoff with police in March
Credit Screenshot from video provided by APD through an IPRA request

    

KUNM Call In Show Thu. 11/13 8a: 

The Department of Justice is requiring APD to figure out how to respond to people in mental health crisis with the goal of decreasing the use of force in those situations. The agreement between the DOJ and Albuquerque’s police force also calls for APD to provide crisis intervention training to all officers.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:20 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Nuclear Security Expert Talks WIPP, LANL And Non-Proliferation

The MK 6 nuclear bomb produced between 1951 and 1955. Modern weapons are dozens and dozens of times more powerful, according to James Doyle.
Credit Public Domain

News broke last weekend that Los Alamos National Laboratory took shortcuts when treating some nuclear waste headed to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. One of the LANL waste drums sprang a radiation leak earlier this year, contaminating workers and closing the facility. 

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Public Health New Mexico
3:51 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Report: Rise in Incarceration Has Not Prevented Crime

Credit Michael Coghlan via Flickr CC

Members of a National Academy of Sciences committee presented a report on high incarceration rates at the State Bar of New Mexico this morning. The NAS says the growth in lockups in the United States is historically unprecedented and unlike any other country in the world.

The U.S. has too many people behind bars, according to the NAS report, and the high rate of imprisonment has surpassed any public safety benefit.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:03 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

State Backs Away From SNAP Work Requirements

Credit Sodanie Chea via Flickr CC

The Human Services Department announced it would not begin demanding more New Mexicans on food stamps meet work requirements. The rule change was slated to go into effect at the beginning of this month, but a lawsuit filed by two nonprofits threw a wrench in the works. 

The lawsuit charged HSD with not following proper procedure in alerting people to the rule change—or posting the full and correct version of the work requirement—before it was adopted.

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Local News
4:27 am
Wed November 5, 2014

GOP Congressional Challengers Face Defeat

Credit Arianna Sena

Two New Mexico Republicans hoping to oust incumbents in Congress were handed big defeats on election night despite their efforts. 

When we spoke Tuesday night in his campaign headquarters, Allen Weh was still hoping to overtake Sen. Tom Udall and win his Senate seat. Instead, the retired Marine colonel ended up trailing in the polls. He said he’ll be happy to get back to work as the head of CSI Aviation after the election, and he mused, briefly, on the political system in America. 

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Local News
4:26 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Gov. Martinez Highlights Bipartisanship

Gov. Susana Martinez' campaign staff awaits her arrival on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014.
Credit Marisa Demarco

Republican Gov. Susana Martinez secured a second term last night, beating her Democratic challenger Gary King handily. Martinez emphasized bipartisanship during her acceptance speech at the Marriott in Albuquerque, which was packed with Republicans from around the state.

As Economic Development Secretary Jon Barela introduced Gov. Martinez late Tuesday night, he focused on her heart—perhaps a nod to opponent Gary King’s maligned comment about the governor’s not being Latino enough. 

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Local News
3:01 pm
Tue November 4, 2014

Find A Polling Location With No Wait

Credit Theresa Thompson via Flickr CC

Polls are open today until 7 p.m., and registered voters in Bernalillo County can cast their ballots in any of the polling locations around the city. There's a great map and an app [Google Play or iTunes] that can show you where all the vote centers are and how long the wait is at each.

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Public Health New Mexico
6:48 am
Fri October 31, 2014

Voices Behind The Vote: Veteran Concerned With PTSD

Credit Courtesy of Amber Royster

Amber Royster is a sixth-generation New Mexican and Navy veteran who served in the Iraq War and was deployed twice overseas. She said Bernalillo County’s advisory mental health ballot question and the secretary of state’s race are her main interests this year.

She’s a registered Green Party member, and said she generally prefers to vote on issues instead of candidates. She’s voting for Democrat Maggie Toulouse Oliver for secretary of state because that office can allow direct issues-based questions onto the polls.

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Public Health New Mexico
6:18 am
Thu October 30, 2014

Voices Behind The Vote: Mental Health Brings Single Mom To The Polls

Christina Dominguez
Credit Denicia Cadena

Christina Dominguez is a single mother of three kids in Albuquerque. Her primary interest in the election is the mental health poll question on the ballot in Bernalillo County. The question is only advisory, which means it wouldn’t become a law if passed, but it’s intended to allow the public to weigh in on mental health funding.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:08 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Lawsuit May Halt Food Stamp Work Requirement

Credit danielle_blue via Flicr CC

Two New Mexico nonprofits filed a lawsuit this week against the state that could halt changes to the state’s food assistance program.

The Center on Law and Poverty and the Southwest Organizing Project, along with three people who rely on food stamps, are asking for a temporary restraining order that would stop a work requirement for certain SNAP recipients that’s slated to go into effect on November 1.

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