New Mexico’s Drug Overdose Fatality Rate Drops 16 Percent

Gov. Susana Martinez

SANTA FE — Gov. Susana Martinez has announced New Mexico’s drug overdose fatality rate decreased 16 percent between 2011 and 2013.

According to the most recent data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), New Mexico’s drug overdose fatality rate decreased from first in the nation in 2009 to third in 2012. New Mexico has now fallen below West Virginia and Kentucky in drug overdose death rates. This is the first time since 1992 that New Mexico has not been ranked first or second nationally in drug overdose fatality rate.

“New Mexico continues to work hard to fight drug abuse,” said Governor Martinez. “As a former career prosecutor, I have seen firsthand the impact drugs have on our families and communities. We must continue to make fighting drug abuse a priority through education, prevention, treatment, and enforcement.”

Since taking office, Governor Martinez and her administration have implemented a comprehensive approach to fighting drug abuse in New Mexico, particularly regarding prescription drug abuse and fatalities. Through education efforts such as the “No Exceptions” drug awareness program, participation in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, prevention efforts such as the New Mexico Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP), and policy initiatives such as coverage of Naloxone through Centennial Care, New Mexico is continuing to see reductions in preventable prescription drug overdose fatalities. Naloxone is a prescription medication that can help reverse overdoses from opioids such as heroin, methadone, oxycodone and hydrocodone.

In 2009 New Mexico had the highest drug overdose fatality rate in the nation. The change in national ranking was largely due to a reduction in fatalities involving prescription opioids. This reduction in deaths was largely due to a reduction in opioid prescribing in New Mexico.

“Governor Martinez has been working to fight drug abuse and its impact since day one,” said New Mexico Department of Health (DOH) Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. “We are continuing to see progress in reducing preventable overdose deaths, and will continue to work with our many community and statewide partners to continue these efforts.”

Under Governor Martinez’s leadership, New Mexico is becoming a national leader in monitoring prescription drugs to help reduce “doctor shopping” by drug-seeking patients and inappropriate prescribing by medical providers. In 2012, Governor Martinez and her administration developed guidelines for mandatory participation in PMP, which helps health care providers and authorities share information to reduce drug diversion and abuse.

“Thanks to Governor Martinez, the PMP has seen tremendous growth in the past few years, processing more than 100,000 requests each month compared to only 4,000 requests monthly in 2011,” New Mexico PMP Director Carl Flansbaum said. “We are now able to more effectively share data with other states as well, with our users having access to the PMPs of over 20 other states. Providers, pharmacists and other health care professionals, as well as law enforcement, register for the service on a continual basis – almost 2000 new users have been approved for access this year alone.”

For information on prescription opioid safety, visit http://nmhealth.org/about/erd/ibeb/pos/. For information on the DOH Harm Reduction Program, visit http://nmhealth.org/about/phd/idb/hrp/. For substance abuse data and statistics, visit http://nmhealth.org/about/erd/ibeb/sap/.

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