WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich joined the Senate in voting 98-1 to pass the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act to address the opioid epidemic through expanded access to proven addiction treatment options, and increased resources for prevention efforts. The House approved the legislation last week by a vote of 393 to 8 and the Senate’s action sends the bill to the president’s desk for signature.
The bipartisan opioids package, which is largely similar to legislation that the Senate passed in September, will provide necessary resources for recovery and intervention programs, and increase access to treatment for individuals struggling to overcome addiction across the country. It includes a number of critical provisions to help New Mexicans battle the opioid crisis, including important changes to Medicare and Medicaid that will help more people receive treatment, grant programs to aid prevention efforts, and important changes that will help providers treat more patients and increase access to telehealth.
Udall and Heinrich also announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has recently awarded $15,569,492 in funding to combat the opioid crisis in New Mexico. The awards will help strengthen the response to substance abuse in New Mexico and Indian Country by improving access to proven treatment options, mental health services, and recovery and prevention programs.
“This legislation is an important and long-awaited step in confronting the opioid epidemic – but I recognize that in order to truly tackle this public health crisis, we must take bigger strides and make long-term investments in treating addiction as an illness,” said Udall. “Substance abuse knows no boundaries – and for too long, this epidemic has left its mark on every community across New Mexico. This funding is an important resource for addressing this crisis by investing in evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery services that will help individuals in desperate need, especially in the rural and Native communities that have been hit hardest by opioids. But we have much more work to do and as a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I’ll continue fighting for the resources our communities need to combat this epidemic through proven strategies that connect people with the help they need.”
“For years, without adequate treatment resources, communities in New Mexico have suffered through some of the highest rates of opioid and heroin addiction and overdose deaths in the nation. Too many of us have lost loved ones and many more New Mexicans are struggling to find the treatment and recovery resources they need. That’s why I have fought to ensure competitive grants and emergency funds like this go to places that are experiencing the highest prevalence of addiction,” said Heinrich. “There is still so much more we must do. We desperately need more detoxification centers, more transitional housing facilities, more outpatient services, effective enforcement programs, and more behavioral health resources. I will keep fighting for the funding, resources, and policies we need to ensure every New Mexican who needs it can find treatment and lifesaving care so they can get on the road to recovery.”
Through HHS, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) awarded $5,307,273 in State Opioid Response grants to expand evidence-based treatment and recovery options, including medication-assisted treatment. The awards will also be used to promote workforce development by training more people for jobs in the health care sector. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) awarded $5,324,513 to 16 community health centers across New Mexico to increase access to substance use disorder treatment and mental health services.
Finally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided $3,646,154 to bolster prevention efforts by improving surveillance data on opioid overdose deaths with an additional $174,286 for the Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board. Additional funding from the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment to Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos, Inc. to support Opioid Prevention, Treatment and Recovery Support Services in Native American Communities for $772,946, to the Ohkay Owingeh Opioid Prevention and Treatment Project for $174,090, and to the Pueblo of Taos Integrated Behavioral Health Program for $170,230.
The New Mexico health centers receiving awards are:
Expanding Access to Quality Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Services (SUD-MH) Awardees
Albuquerque Health Care For The Homeless, Albuquerque
Ben Archer Health Center, Hatch
Clinica De Familia, Las Cruces
DeBaca Family Practice Clinic, Fort Sumner
El Centro Family Health, Espanola
First Choice Community Healthcare, Albuquerque
First Nations Community Health Source, Albuquerque
Hidalgo Medical Services, Lordsburg
La Casa De Buena Salud, Portales
La Clinica Del Pueblo, Tierra Amarilla
La Familia Medical Center, Santa Fe
Las Clinica Del Norte, El Rito
Mora Valley Community Health Services, Mora
Pecos Valley Medical Center, Pecos
Presbyterian Medical Services, Santa Fe
St. Luke's Health Care Clinic, Las Cruces