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New Mexico Ranks High In Combating Prescription Drug Abuse

New Mexico's prescription drug abuse prevention policies are working well.
SANTA FE -- New Mexico received 10 out of 10 possible indicators of promising strategies to help curb prescription drug abuse according to a new Trust for Americans Health (TFAH) report.

New Mexico and Vermont are the only two states nationwide scoring the highest, with a 10. Nationally, 28 states and Washington, D.C. scored 6 or less.

"The report reflects the hard work New Mexico Department of Health and its partners are putting into combating our state's prescription drug abuse problem," said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary, Retta Ward, MPH.

There is clearly still work to do, but initiatives aimed at preventing drug overdose deaths appear to be working. New Mexico initiatives cited by the report Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Stop the Epidemic include the states Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), ID requirements for dispensing controlled substances, support for substance abuse treatment services and doctor shopping laws, prohibiting patients from withholding information from health care providers about prior prescriptions.

New Mexico had the second highest drug overdose mortality rate in the United States in 2010, and in 2012 there were 486 drug overdose deaths in New Mexico with a rate that dropped 7 percent from 2011 to 24.2 deaths per 100,000 people.

The report found between the years of 1999 and 2010, drug deaths in New Mexico increased 59 percent. Among New Mexico counties, Rio Arriba had the highest drug overdose death rate in the  state with a 2008‐2012 average of 67.2 deaths per 100,000 persons. Second highest was Mora County (65.0), followed by Sierra County (44.8). Among the most populous counties, the Bernalillo County rate was 28.7,  the Dona Anna County rate was 18.5, and the Santa Fe County rate was 26.4.
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