AP NEWS

Results elusive as New Mexico combats alcohol, drug deaths

November 20, 2019 GMT

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The state with the nation’s highest alcohol-related death rate and a longstanding opiate problem is looking for answers in three afflicted communities that have deployed extensive resources to address an epidemic of destructive substance use.

An expert study released Wednesday by the Legislative Finance Committee traces a doubling of annual state spending on services to people with drug and alcohol problems across New Mexico, with attention to special programs across the state’s largest urban area in Albuquerque and two small, impoverished communities in the north and west of the state.

The aggressive deployment of opioid overdose antidotes and closer monitoring of prescriptions has helped stabilized overdose death rates as alcohol-related deaths continue to climb.

At the same time, many emergency rooms and physicians appear ill-equipped to screen and treat addiction.