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Home News New Progress Against Drug Overdoses in New Mexico
David Morgan
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New Progress Against Drug Overdoses in New Mexico

October 29, 2019 - Harm Reduction - Information

The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH)’s latest Prescription Drug Overdose in New Mexico (2019-Q2) shows year-to-year improvement in key indicators related to drug overdose prevention in the second quarter of 2019 compared to the same time period the year before.

Highlights include:

  • The number of patients at higher risk of overdose death has declined by 13-to-20 percent between the second quarter of 2018 and the second quarter of 2019.
  • Patients potentially beginning chronic opioid use (such as new opioid patients with 30 days or more of supply in the quarter) has declined by almost 25 percent (from 3,403 to 2,563)

This reduction in patients potentially starting to take prescribed opioids chronically will help reduce the drug overdose problem in future years.

“The three main strategies used by the Department of Health in combatting the prescription drug overdose epidemic— improved prescribing, increased treatment availability, and provision of naloxone—are showing substantial positive results along with the efforts of other agencies,” said Department of Health Secretary Kathy Kunkel.

The report also reveals the number of practitioners authorized to provide medication-assisted treatment with buprenorphine (which helps treat opioid use disorder) increased by 25 percent, and the number of those practitioners with at least 10 treatment patients increased by 26%.

There was also an increase of 27 percent of the number of active clients of methadone-based opioid treatment programs, leading to over 13,000 people in opioid use disorder treatment. Methadone is used to treat opioid use disorder.

State government programs operated by the Department of Health and the New Mexico Human Services Department distributed more than 15,000 doses of naloxone, a drug used to reverse an opioid overdose, in the second quarter of 2019. This was an increase of 84 percent over the same quarter in 2018.

The number of pharmacy prescriptions for naloxone paid for by Medicaid increased by 118 percent, more than double the number in 2018.

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