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Prescription Drug Abuse Programs in Albuquerque

4 Minute Read | Published Nov 30 2023 | Updated Nov 30 2023

Prescription drug abuse has become a growing problem in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as well as nationwide. In response, there have been numerous programs and initiatives implemented in the city to tackle this issue. This research will focus on the various prescription drug abuse programs in Albuquerque, NM, and their impact on the community.

Prescription Drug Abuse in Albuquerque and New Mexico:

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), New Mexico has consistently ranked among the top ten states for drug overdose deaths, with prescription drugs being the leading cause of these deaths. In 2019, New Mexico had a drug overdose mortality rate of 25.1 deaths per 100,000 population, significantly higher than the national average of 20.7 per 100,000. Among the prescription drugs commonly abused in New Mexico are opioids, including prescription pain relievers such as OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet.

In Albuquerque, the metropolitan county of Bernalillo has been particularly affected by the prescription drug abuse epidemic. According to the New Mexico Department of Health, in 2018, Bernalillo County had the highest number of drug overdose deaths in the state, with a rate of 30.3 per 100,000 people. Additionally, in 2019, the Albuquerque Fire Rescue reported an increase in the number of 911 calls related to drug overdoses, with 80% of these calls involving prescription drugs.

Prescription Drug Abuse Programs in Albuquerque:

1. Prescription Drug Take-Back Programs:

The city of Albuquerque has implemented several medication take-back programs to help prevent prescription drug abuse. These programs provide a safe and convenient way for individuals to dispose of their unused or expired medications. The City of Albuquerque Solid Waste Management Department conducts prescription drug take-back events four times a year in partnership with the local police department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Additionally, some pharmacies in Albuquerque, such as Walgreens and CVS, have installed medication disposal kiosks in their stores to encourage proper disposal of medications.

2. Substance Abuse Treatment Programs:

The City of Albuquerque has various substance abuse treatment programs that offer services for individuals struggling with prescription drug abuse. The Albuquerque Housing Authority has partnered with the El Camino Real Community Assessment Center to provide supportive housing and addiction treatment services for individuals with co-occurring disorders. The Center for New Mexico Community Rehabilitation has a residential treatment program that provides specialized care for individuals with opioid addiction.

3. Prescription Drug Education Programs:

Education programs aimed at preventing and addressing prescription drug abuse have been implemented in Albuquerque. One example is the New Mexico Department of Health's Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention Program, which offers education and training sessions for healthcare providers, pharmacists, and community members on prescribing and dispelling prescription drugs safely. The University of New Mexico also offers a Harm Reduction Outreach program, which provides education and support for individuals struggling with drug abuse, including prescription drugs.

Impact of Prescription Drug Abuse Programs in Albuquerque:

The prescription drug abuse programs implemented in Albuquerque have had a significant impact on the community. According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the rate of prescription drug misuse among adults aged 18 and older in New Mexico has decreased from 6.8% in 2016 to 5.8% in 2019. This decrease can be attributed, in part, to the various programs and initiatives aimed at preventing and addressing prescription drug abuse.

Moreover, the City of Albuquerque has seen success in its prescription drug take-back events, with over 21,000 pounds of prescription drugs collected since 2017. These programs have helped reduce the availability of prescription drugs in the community, preventing potential abuse and diversion.

In conclusion, prescription drug abuse remains a significant issue in Albuquerque and New Mexico, with opioids being the most commonly abused. However, through the implementation of various programs such as drug take-back events, substance abuse treatment, and education programs, the city is making strides in addressing and preventing prescription drug abuse. Continued efforts and collaborations between various organizations will be crucial in reducing the impact of prescription drug abuse on the community.
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