KUNM

opioids

Ed Williams

The New Mexico Senate approved a bill Monday that provides more legal protection to people calling 911 to report a drug overdose. Lawmakers hope the bill will encourage more people to call for help.

KUNM Special 2/2 8a: KUNM has been investigating the impacts of heroin addiction on children and families in Rio Arriba County, N.M. The region's had one of the country’s highest overdose rates for decades. Ed Williams' reporting follows the lives of families and community health leaders, providing an intimate view of the opioid epidemic from the perspective of the people who have been living through it for generations.

Española High School Students Hunger For Respect, Support

Jan 31, 2017
Ed Williams / KUNM

When kids are at high risk for addiction, a good public school system can be one of the most effective ways to prevent drug use. On the other hand, dysfunctional schools can make drug use by students more likely.

In Española public schools, teacher turnover and problems with the administration have created a lot of instability for students. But students at Española Valley High School say it’s time to focus on what’s good about their school.

Ed Williams

Rio Arriba County has the country’s highest rate of opioid overdose. That’s partly because a severe shortage of funding for detox and recovery programs has made it almost impossible for people to get life-saving help with their addictions.

Now Congress has passed a broad health measure that includes $1 billion for addiction treatment and prevention services.

KUNM spoke with Senator Martin Heinrich, who voted for the 21st Century Cures Act this week. 

The opioid epidemic is a national crisis, and in Northern New Mexico it’s a problem that’s been around for decades.

For the latest in our Voices Behind the Vote series, KUNM visited the home of an addiction counselor in Rio Arriba County to hear about her thoughts on substance abuse and the presidential race.

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A Rio Arriba County detox center is getting $45,000 from a state-funded grant. The county’s Community Health Council voted to award the funds Wednesday.

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Rio Arriba County’s Health and Human Services Department is helping law enforcement there stock the overdose-reversing drug naloxone.

Rio Arriba County has the highest rate of opioid overdoses in New Mexico, but police and sheriff’s departments haven’t been able to get a reliable supply of naloxone—also known as Narcan—to use on the streets.

Supertheman via Wikipedia / Creative Commons license

Congress is considering legislation that will make it easier to treat people for opioid addiction. And doctors in Rio Arriba County—an area hard-hit by drug addiction—are hoping the new laws will provide relief to patients there.

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  New Mexico has the second-highest rate of overdose deaths in the country, according to the CDC. Now, a life-saving drug called naloxone is not only available by prescription, the cost of it is covered through Medicaid.

State of California Department of Justice

Stan Padilla has been using heroin for 45 years. On this cold December morning, he’s taking time to visit an Albuquerque syringe exchange to pick up clean gear for his habit.

"I just look out for myself,” said Padilla. “'Round here there isn’t no friends, when it comes out to drugs and money, it’s all about trying to use each other. It’s the way it is. It’s the drug business for you.”

He’s 61 years old, an Albuquerque native, and says he’s cut his habit down to using about once a month.