The federal government has tightened restrictions on prescription hydrocodone combo drugs to try to reduce overdoses. That could be good news for New Mexico, which has the second highest opioid overdose rate in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Drug Enforcement Agenct now considers the highly addictive pain medication a Schedule II drug alongside oxycodone and methamphetamine.
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.
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.