In an effort to expand its drug and alcohol addiction treatment in Albuquerque, the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) announced last week that one of the local hospitals will be relocated.
The Turquoise Lodge Hospital, which celebrated its 66th anniversary last month, will soon occupy the former site of the Gibson Medical Center. The NMDOH anticipates that the transition will happen in December.
Currently, the hospital offers a variety of drug and alcohol addiction treatment services, including detoxification and rehabilitation. Patients participation is voluntary and doesn’t require a physician referral. The program’s length averages between 23 and 28 days, depending on each person’s treatment regimen. While recovering, patients also attend individual and group counseling sessions. Following treatment, hospital officials will recommend local aftercare providers.
The new location will also allow Turquoise Lodge Hospital to expand its outpatient addiction treatment services.
A hospital representative stated that the move will help Bernalillo County and state representatives identity and rectify gaps in treatment for substance use disorders.
Additional behavioral health services will be introduced in the hospital’s current site after the transition is complete.
According the NMDOH’s Indicator-Based Information System, nearly 500 individuals died of a drug-related overdose in 2016. That year, the state reportedly had the 13th highest overdose fatality rate in the country. Between 2012 and 2016, the highest number of overdose deaths occurred among Hispanics. Bernalillo County experienced more than 920 overdose deaths from 2011 to 2015. NMDOH representatives stated that the overdose death rate increased threefold.
Another department report found that more than 157,600 New Mexico residents admitted to struggling with depression two weeks prior to taking the survey.
In September 2017, the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office joined a number of U.S. states in suing Purdue Pharma and other pharmaceutical companies that manufacture and distribute addictive opioid medications. The state’s attorney general plans to direct any monies recovered from the lawsuit to drug and alcohol addiction treatment measures, law enforcement efforts and to cover state reimbursement costs for unnecessary opioid prescriptions.
The New Mexico Board of Pharmacy’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) observed the opioid medication rates in relation to drug overdose deaths. In 2016, prescriptions were involved in approximately half of the state’s overdose fatalities. Oxycodone was the most commonly prescribed opioid, followed by alprazolam, fentanyl and hydrocodone that year.
In July 2018, Gov. Susana Martinez and the NMDOH announced a new campaign — dubbed ‘There is Another Way’ — to combat prescription drug misuse across the state.
The governor stated that the campaign will be a new way to educate the public on the dangers of prescription drug use. In addition to implementing school and community outreach programs, the campaign will also research alternative drug and alcohol addiction treatment strategies.
The campaign’s official website lists electronic educational resources and tools to connect individuals to local addiction treatment providers.
Under Martinez’s administration, not only were PMP regulations expanded, but New Mexico also became the first state to require law enforcement agencies to supply officers with naloxone.