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
5:17 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

State Works To Fill The Void Left By Turquoise

District Court judges in Chaves County have expressed concern that they won't be able to order people into treatment if behavioral health capacity in the area is diminished.
Credit Marisa Demarco / KUNM

An Arizona nonprofit that came to New Mexico after the 2013 behavioral health shakeup called it quits on March 31 after less than two years. 

Turquoise Health and Wellness was the main provider of mental health and substance abuse treatment to several cities in Southeast New Mexico. Not anymore. Human Services Department spokesperson Matt Kennicott said since the company gave its 90-day closure notice, the state has been working with communities to find replacements.

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Public Health New Mexico
5:48 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Turquoise Closure Leaves Roswell Courts Scrambling

Judge Freddie Romero gives candy bars to the kids who have a good day in Drug Court.
Credit Marisa Demarco / KUNM

After less than two years serving southeastern New Mexico, a behavioral health provider will shutter its programs on March 31, leaving hundreds without services.

What does this mean for Roswell and its courts, which were ordering offenders into treatment there?

Judge Freddie Romero presides over the drug court for juveniles in Chaves County. It’s not what you might imagine. The judge is warm and friendly. The kids who approach the podium with their parents in tow are everyday teenagers—jeans, T shirts, the occasional piercing.

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Public Health New Mexico
7:40 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Public Health In The 2015 Session

Credit Arianna Sena

Psychiatric Meds In School—PASSED

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Public Health New Mexico
3:54 pm
Thu March 19, 2015

Could Dental Therapists Fill The Access Gap?

Dr. Patricio Larragoite serves an adult patient at the Cochiti Dental Clinic.
Credit Marisa Demarco / KUNM

Advocates have tried since 2011 to pass a bill that would create a new breed of mid-level dental care providers in New Mexico. It passed the state’s House of Representatives on Monday for the first time ever on a bipartisan vote. If the Senate gives it a thumb’s up before the session ends on Saturday at noon, it could mean a big change for dentistry. 

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Public Health New Mexico
7:00 am
Mon March 16, 2015

Guns And Public Health In New Mexico

Target shooting in Belen, N.M.
Credit Marisa Demarco / KUNM

There have been more than 300,000 civilian gun deaths in the United States in the last 10 years. That’s right up there with the number of military casualties in the nation’s biggest wars. The country's surgeon general says gun violence is a public health issue.

But in rural parts of New Mexico, many people use guns as tools in their daily lives. 

"This is my 12-gauge shotgun, and I’ll say it’s definitely the most versatile tool in the gun cabinet," Billy Ogle said. "And you can take anything from the smallest game to the largest game in North America down."

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Public Health New Mexico
3:56 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

Taking Mental Health Out Of The Gun Violence Debate

Credit Curtis Gregory Perry via CC

  After mass-casualty shootings, the national debate often focuses on preventing people with mental illness from buying guns. But at the forum hosted by UNM’s Psychiatry Department this week, researchers said that might not be the smartest way to decrease gun violence in America—or in New Mexico.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:58 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

Ex-APD Officer On How Police Cope

Paul Ielacqua skips stones in 2014 at Conchas Lake. He was a park ranger there from 1998 to 2001.
Credit Courtesy of Paul Ielacqua

KUNM's Public Health New Mexico reporting project has been investigating Albuquerque Police Department shooting deaths with an eye on behavioral health issues. This week, we’re looking at officer mental health.

Paul Ielacqua was an APD Aviation officer from 2001 to 2008 but has worked in law enforcement—at the Bernalillo County jail and Conchas Lake—since 1996. He talked to KUNM about how police handle their own mental wellness in high-stress situations.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:46 pm
Mon March 9, 2015

The APD Files: Officer Mental Health And Daniel Tillison

Daniel Tillison's kids work on his memorial at the site where he died.
Credit Courtesy of Mary Jobe

When the Department of Justice report on the Albuquerque Police Department came out last year, it highlighted that interactions between officers and people with mental illnesses can be volatile. It also pointed to limited services. But what about the mental wellbeing of the officers?

On March 19, 2012, the call that came in to Albuquerque police was not an emergency.

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Public Health New Mexico
4:25 pm
Thu March 5, 2015

Abortion Bill Also Allows Pharmacists To Refuse To Dispense Meds

Credit www.enfield.gov.uk via CC

UPDATE Thursday 3/5 at 6 p.m.: KUNM Host Chris Boros and I just discussed the two abortion bills making their way to the House floor soon, including HB 391, which requires doctors to alert parents at least 48 hours before a minor gets an abortion, and HB 390, the

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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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