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Home News International Overdose Awareness Day highlights prevention efforts
David Barre
(505) 699-9237 Office

International Overdose Awareness Day highlights prevention efforts

August 30, 2023 - Opioid Safety - Awareness

SANTA FE – Tomorrow is International Overdose Awareness Day and New Mexicans are reminded of the vital importance of preventing and reversing overdoses. The use of Naloxone (commonly known as Narcan) to counteract the effects of overdose and fentanyl test strips to detect the presence of fentanyl in drugs can significantly contribute to saving lives. 

This year holds special significance as it marks the 25th anniversary of the New Mexico Department of Health's (DOH) Hepatitis and Harm Reduction Program. This program has been a beacon of support for thousands of New Mexicans who use substances, offering crucial overdose prevention services and other essential resources. 

"The journey towards healing and recovery is multifaceted. Our program stands as a testament to the power of meeting individuals where they are, with compassion as the guiding light,” Josh Swatek, Hepatitis and Harm Reduction Program Manager. “This anniversary and Overdose Awareness Day are reminders of the lives transformed and the community spirit that fuels our progress." 

Naloxone (Narcan) is a lifesaving drug capable of reversing the effects of a suspected opioid overdose. In the year 2023 alone, more than 25,000 doses of naloxone were distributed across New Mexico, extending to school staff and faculty to ensure campus safety. This distribution led to more than 3,000 reported reversals during the same period. New Mexicans seeking access to Naloxone can reach out to their local Public Health Office or call 505-270-5943. Additionally, Naloxone can be obtained for free at, it is also available without a prescription at various pharmacies for purchase. 

Fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid primarily prescribed for intense pain, has infiltrated many street drugs, including pills, heroin, and cocaine, rendering them highly dangerous. Even a minuscule amount of fentanyl can trigger a fatal overdose. To address this issue, the harm reduction program has distributed over 120,000 fentanyl test strips, which can identify the presence of fentanyl in drugs. These test strips are accessible at Public Health Offices and community providers listed on

In the coming months, the DOH will initiate two new educational campaigns geared towards raising awareness about preventing overdoses and educating New Mexicans about harm reduction strategies. 

Beyond overdose prevention, the Hepatitis and Harm Reduction program offers comprehensive support, including Hepatitis C testing and treatment navigation, safe syringe collection, assistance in accessing medications for opioid disorder (MOUD), overdose prevention education, and combating stigma through education and training. For more information visit There Is Another Way ( or


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Versión en Español

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El Día Internacional de Concienciación sobre las Sobredosis destaca la labor de prevención