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Udall, Heinrich Announce $1.7 Million for NM Health Centers to Help Treat Prescription Opioid Abuse

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich announced more than $1.7 million for five health centers and treatment providers in New Mexico to improve and expand the delivery of substance abuse services, with a particular focus on the treatment of opioid abuse in underserved communities. The grants, funded under the Affordable Care Act and administered by the Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration, will help increase the number of patients screened for substance abuse and connect more patients to treatment, increase access to medication-assisted treatment, and provide training and educational resources to help medical professionals make informed prescribing decisions. Treatment providers receiving grants include First Choice Community Healthcare Inc. and First Nations Community Health Source Inc. in Albuquerque, La Familia Medical Center and Presbyterian Medical Services Inc. in Santa Fe, and the Pueblo of Jemez. 

"The prescription drug abuse and heroin use epidemic has taken a devastating toll on families across New Mexico, particularly our rural communities," Udall said. "We need to do everything we can to ensure than anyone who wants treatment can get it. I'm pleased that this funding will help health centers in our state expand services and prevent further tragedy due to addiction and overdose. We need to put real resources behind the programs that work to help states and local communities fight the battle for prevention, education and treatment, and I'll continue to push for funding to support these efforts as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee." 

"For years, communities in New Mexico have suffered through some of the highest rates of opioid and heroin addiction in the nation,” Heinrich said. “I’m pleased this funding will help connect local health center resources to individuals who need treatment and recovery services. Addiction is a disease that can happen to anyone, and it's a vicious cycle that we've seen too frequently in New Mexico. We need to do more in order to help meet the needs of New Mexico's rural and tribal communities, and I will continue the fight to provide adequate funding for drug prevention and treatment programs.” 

Prescription opioid addiction and heroin use are a growing health problem nationwide. In 2014, New Mexico had the second-highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The grant announcement follows the Senate's passage last week of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, a bill to help tackle the drug abuse epidemic in communities in New Mexico and across the nation. Udall and Heinrich voted for the bill, which passed the Senate 94-1. But Senate Republicans blocked an amendment Udall and Heinrich cosponsored to add $600 million in emergency funding to the bill to directly aid health and law enforcement professionals in the fight against addiction. Udall and Heinrich have called on Congress to do more to help communities, law enforcement, community health workers and others on the front lines of the fight against drug addiction.

Awarded funding by treatment provider:

First Choice Community Healthcare Inc. in Albuquerque: $325,000

First Nations Community Health Source Inc. in Albuquerque: $379,167

La Familia Medical Center in Santa Fe: $406,250

Presbyterian Medical Services Inc. in Santa Fe: $325,000

Pueblo of Jemez: $320,819