U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham Releases Plan To Fight Opioid Epidemic In New Mexico

U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham
ALBUQUERQUE ― U.S. Rep. and gubernatorial candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham has released her plan to tackle the opioid epidemic in New Mexico.
“Fighting the opioid epidemic will be one of my first priorities as governor. Opioid addiction is ruining lives and communities across New Mexico. It destroys families, contributes to child neglect and abuse, increases crime, and hurts our economy,” Lujan Grisham said. “My plan offers a comprehensive strategy that invests in prevention, and treatment, increases access to drugs that can counteract overdoses and save lives, and holds accountable those who overprescribe these drugs and get people hooked.  
“While we fight to end this scourge, we must do everything to prevent its spread. We need to identify kids who are most at-risk for substance abuse, provide needed treatment and ensure that these kids and their families are receiving the support they need.”
As governor, Michelle will take to the following ten steps to address the opioid crisis:
  1. Increase prevention initiatives to address substance abuse and addiction, identify children and adolescents who are at risk for substance abuse and provide early interventions, treatment and supports to them and their families.
  2. Reduce the unnecessary overprescribing of opiates and take appropriate actions against prescribers who do not follow opioid prescribing laws.
  3. Increase training and funding so that New Mexicans throughout the state have access to comprehensive treatment using buprenorphine, and pregnant women with opioid addiction receive needed treatment and support services.
  4. Ensure that those who need inpatient care, intensive outpatient care, housing, and other social services and supports while on the road to recovery can receive those services in New Mexico.
  5. Adopt the recommendation of the state’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Board to authorize the use of medical cannabis to treat opioid use disorder.
  6. Increase addiction treatment for persons involved in our criminal justice system, and stop using our jails and prisons as community behavioral health centers.
  7. Strengthen state laws to reduce opioid overdoses, increase access to life-saving drugs that can reduce the effects of an overdose and stop pharmaceutical companies and pharmacy benefits managers from unfair pricing practices that keep these life-saving drugs from the people who need them.
  8. Increase our behavioral health workforce to recruit and retain professionals with expertise in treating addiction throughout New Mexico.
  9. Immediately appoint an Opioid Recovery Task Force that includes local and tribal partners and healthcare providers to develop a sustainable long-term plan to address the opioid epidemic.
  10. Leverage Medicaid and other federal funding initiatives for opioid prevention and treatment to maximize federal resources to build our prevention and treatment programs throughout New Mexico.
You can find the full policy here.
The following community leaders from across New Mexico have given statements in support of the plan:
“As a physician and public health expert who has worked in the area of addiction and public health, I fully support Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham’s plan. It provides a well-informed, comprehensive, and achievable template for action to address New Mexico’s continuing crisis with opioid dependency and overdose deaths.” – Bill Wiese, MD, MPH, retired faculty UNM School of Medicine, chair of New Mexico Drug Policy Task Force 2010-13, co-chair Bernalillo County Opioid Accountability Initiative, chair Bernalillo County Addiction Treatment Advisory Board
“As the Chair of the San Miguel County Commission and a former sheriff and magistrate judge, I can’t overstate how important implementing the steps of Congresswoman Lujan Grisham’s plan are to the survival of our community. Her plan tackles the root of the issue by ensuring we have the behavioral health professionals needed to treat addiction, increasing addiction treatment for individuals who have come into contact with the criminal justice system, and leveraging resources so that local communities can build programs tailored to fit to the issues they are facing.” – Chris Najar, San Miguel County Commission Chair
“Congresswoman Lujan Grisham’s plan gives hope for families across New Mexico who have been torn apart by the opioid epidemic. My own family has shared in this suffering and now I advocate each day for policies that will help set communities on a path towards recovery and healing. Michelle understands that resolution to this crisis will only come when we give communities the tools they need to prevent the spread of substance abuse and to also help those suffering from this disease through their lifetime of recovery.  Her plan is a signal to our parents, children, neighbors, and loved ones that their appeals for help will no longer go overlooked by our state government.” – Jennifer Manzanares, Overdose prevention educator, trauma informed trainer, and opiate policy coordinator, mother
“As a pediatrician with years of experience treating pregnant women and young people with substance use disorder, I believe the policies advanced by Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham will greatly improve the care of and recovery processes of people with opioid substance use disorder and eventually create the context for improving the comprehensive care systems for New Mexicans with all types of substance use disorders.” – Andrew Hsi, MD, MPH
“Our communities will never be able to succeed economically or reach their full potential if we don’t take immediate steps to end the opioid epidemic. Congresswoman Lujan Grisham has laid out a plan that will help communities take on this issue once and for all. I know it will make a huge difference in the efforts for law enforcement and community leaders to build safer and stronger communities.” – Chris Lopez, Police Chief
“I strongly support Representative Lujan-Grisham’s comprehensive ten-point plan to address substance use disorders in New Mexico. If implemented, it will assist us to reverse the negative impacts of fifty years of misguided policy, and will allow us to transfer opioid resources from the criminal justice system, which exacerbates the illness, to evidence-based treatment and prevention practice. It is about time we stopped relying on a combination of shame and superstition and instead employed effective strategies!” – Lauren Reichelt, Director of the Rio Arriba County Health and Human Services Department
“It breaks my heart to see so many suffer at the hands of the opioid epidemic, and as a paramedic and first responder, I know that the calls for help to those experiencing overdose are only growing. Too often we see the same people over and over and realize that there may be a time when what you can do is just not enough to bring them back. Congresswoman Lujan Grisham’s plan gives us the tools we need to push back against this nightmare. It will create options for those seeking treatment and support while putting life-saving drugs in the hands of the people most able to prevent tragedies.” – Mike Landavazo, Las Cruces paramedic
“Working at CYFD, I saw firsthand that children are often the hardest hit by the opioid epidemic, with the most dangerous consequences. Michelle Lujan Grisham understands that addiction affects people from all walks of life, including children, and is prepared to combat the epidemic that New Mexicans are struggling with all across the state. Michelle is the right person to take on this fight – as governor, she will work to increase funding for access to opioid treatment and ensure that resources are made available statewide for those facing addiction.” – Kasandra Gandara, Las Cruces City Councilor
“Michelle Lujan Grisham’s plan supports best practices through policy development that treats opiate addiction as a public health crisis. Her plan prioritizes prevention and expands access to treatment. Appointing a task force will help to break down existing silos.” – Yolanda Cruz, Co-lead for LC4 behavioral health local collaborative

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