New Mexico State Health Improvement Plan (May 2014)

New Mexico Prescription Drug Misuse and Overdose Prevention and Pain Management council issue annual recommendations to the office of the governor and state legislature on policy and program responses to the epidemic of prescription drug overdose.

Dr. Michael Landen, NM Department of Health
Dr. Steve Jenkusky, NM Medical Board
Dr. Nancy Darbro, NM Board of Nursing
Larry Loring, NM Board of Pharmacy
Dr. Bill Barkman, NM Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners
Frances Lovett, NM Board of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine
Dr. Jessica Brewster, NM Board of Dental Health
Dr. Steven Seifert, UNM Health Sciences Center
Dr. Mark Chiu, NM Medical Soriety
Dr. Ernie Dole, NM Association of Pharmacists
Margreet Jenness, NM Association of Nurse Practitioners
Chris Felt, NM Association of Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists
Dr. Brent Brevard, NM Association of Osteopathic Physicians
Dr. Joanna Katzman, Pain Management Specialist
Robert Geist, Consumer Health Advocate
Jennifer Weiss, Healing Addictions on Our Community
Dr. Julie Muche, NM Medical Society

Tourism boss’ switch to CYFD secretary divides lawmakers

The head of the state’s troubled Children, Youth and Families department is stepping down and the governor’s choice to replace her with a career marketing and advertising professional is raising some eyebrows… Jacobson has been a professional marketer for more than a decade, working extensively with PepsiCo before taking her position as Secretary of Tourism for New Mexico in 2011. Her role with CYFD will be her first venture into social work.

Gov. Martinez Announces New Mexico’s Participation in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

Sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, National Drug Take Back Day has helped to successfully remove more than 3.4 million pounds, or 1,733 tons, of prescription medication from circulation. The New Mexico Department of Health reports 486 New Mexicans died of a drug overdose in 2012, a seven percent decrease from 2011.

No list of the different drugs that were taken out of circulation?  Because I find it hard to believe that most of the 3.4 million pounds of “prescription medication” was actually pain medications.

Governor Martinez has declared the year 2014 “New Mexico’s Crisis of Preventable Overdose Deaths,” to encourage all New Mexicans to get involved in advocating for reducing preventable overdose deaths among family, friends, and neighbors. 

“While prescription drugs and other medications, including over-the-counter medicine, can be beneficial when taken properly, they also pose potential health risks when misused,” said Department of Health (DOH) Cabinet Secretary Retta Ward, MPH. “Our primary focus needs to be on prevention. We must focus our efforts with health care providers and the public on reducing the misuse of prescription pain medication, which is often the gateway to addiction.”

Using the words “gateway” and “often” suggests everyone who uses prescription pain medication is at risk for misuse and abuse, and that’s not true.  And if you want to prevent prescription pain medication abuse, perhaps the Department of Health could find a better way to manage chronic pain… Like administering a Medical Cannabis Program that gives access — for ALL patients — to an additional treatment method at an affordable price.

But keep in mind, Ms. Ward, that medical cannabis is not for all patients.  Your friends in the medical industry will have to come up with more treatment options for pain — those that are covered by insurance and, oh yeah, that actually work.

Everybody’s making money off the drug war

Click to access gov020212-2.pdf

February 2, 2012


Urges Support for Legislation to Help Tackle Prescription Drug Abuse

Today Governor Susana Martinez announced the rollout of a new video project called “No Exceptions” to bring attention to the epidemic of prescription opioid abuse and heroin abuse by young people in New Mexico, and to urge parents, community members, and public officials to work together to stop this serious problem. She was joined by Human Services Department Secretary Sidonie Squier, Public Education Department Secretary-designate Hanna Skandera, Department of Health Secretary Catherine Torres, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, Jennifer Weiss of the Heroin Awareness Committee, and families of New Mexico kids who have been affected by prescription drug abuse.

[I’m confused, are only young people affected by this “epidemic”? Or is that just how Governor Martinez sold the continuation of the failed drug war?]

“No Exceptions” is a comprehensive media campaign involving the New Mexico Behavioral Health Collaborative (BHC), the Human Services Department (HSD), the Public Education Department (PED), the Department of Health (DOH), the Heroin Awareness Committee (HAC), and private partners…

[So many fighting the failed drug war… lots of taxpayer dollars paying these government salaries… for the government to keep prescription medications away from pain patients.  Oh, and of course, the children…]

“By providing education on the dangers of drug abuse before it starts, we can save lives, and by expanding and improving prescription drug monitoring and better defining when and how these drugs are prescribed for legitimate reasons, we can take tangible steps to curb prescription drug abuse in New Mexico.”

The ongoing media campaign will kick-off with public service announcements (PSAs) paid for by the NMBHC and HSD airing statewide in cooperation with the New Mexico Broadcasters Association (NMBA). The PSAs will begin airing on television and radio this week and will continue throughout the year. In addition, PED will be sending a letter to all school superintendents encouraging them to have their middle and high school health classes show the video and host discussions based on the video in their health classes…

[Like I said, so many involved in fighting the drug war… must be expensive.]

At 27 overdose deaths for every 100,000 people, New Mexico has the highest drug overdose rate in the United States. This frightening statistic is more than double the United States rate of 11.9 deaths for every 100,000 people and has increased by 242% since 1991. In New Mexico, 40% of these deaths are caused primarily by prescription drugs…

[What were the other 60% of deaths caused by?]

Governor Martinez also announced her support for legislation to help reduce prescription drug abuse in New Mexico. Three pieces of legislation – modifications to the Pain Relief Act, enacting more safeguards for the prescribing of opioids, and an expansion of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Database – are keys to help combat this problem…

SB 158, SB 159, and SB 215 are being carried by Senator Bernadette Sanchez this legislative session and are based on countless hours of work by the Department of Health, the Heroin Awareness Committee, Senator Bernadette Sanchez, and the Board of Pharmacy. These bills will provide needed revisions to the Pain Relief Act, enacting more safeguards and increased monitoring of opioid medication prescriptions. SB 159 and SB 215 have already received the approval of the Senate Public Affairs…

SB 158 will expand, improve, and implement the current Prescription Drug Monitoring Database (PDMP) to hold doctors accountable for the opioids prescriptions they write, as well as reduce the amount of opioid drugs that are illegitimately prescribed.

SB 159 seeks to clarify the procedures under which certain opioid medications are obtained by educating patients, requiring informed consent, and limiting the number of opioids prescribed throughout the state. SB 215 expands the definition of “pain,” to be inclusive of both “acute” and “chronic” pain in order to ensure proper pain management for patients…

[Yeah, it looks like that didn’t happen.]

Catherine Torres, M.D. “The legislation being sponsored by Senator Sanchez will go a long way toward addressing the addiction and overdose death problems we face in New Mexico. More proactive action is needed on this issue, and this is a major step in the right direction. I urge the legislature to support these bills.”

Gov. Martinez: Drug overdose deaths down in NM

My comment (which was put on hold):

So, the Medical Cannabis Program had nothing to do with it? Or the fact that most doctors refuse to prescribe pain medications any more? Even putting up signs in their offices to indicate same? And what have been the consequences?

As reported by KOB on 4/25/2014: “New Mexico has one of the highest drug overdose death rates in the nation, with heroin being among the top cause of death behind prescription drugs… In 2011, the New Mexico lifetime heroin rate was 4.7 percent, higher than the U.S. rate of 2.9 percent, the New Mexico Heath Department said.”

States like New York and Maine have reported a rise in heroin use and abuse, and as Forbes reported early this year: “The bottom line: Vermont’s stratospheric heroin increase is happening where the money is [high income professionals], and the national drug abuse trends suggest that the same thing is happening across the country.”

Maybe things are a little better with prescription drug overdoses, but isn’t alcohol a drug too?

As reported by NM DOH: “The consequences of excessive alcohol use are severe in New Mexico. New Mexico’s total alcohol-related death rate has ranked 1st, 2nd, or 3rd in the U.S. since 1981; and 1st for the period 1997 through 2007 (the most recent year for which state comparison data are available).”

I’m sorry, Governor Martinez, but what, exactly, are you crowing about?

(Stop the war against pain patients — because suffering is never pretty.)

11/17/2014, These Democrats Could Be The Party’s Ticket To A Comeback

“And New Mexico’s newly elected Attorney General Hector Balderas could succeed popular Gov. Susana Martinez (R) in 2018, when she won’t be able to run again because of term limits. Bernalillo County Clerk Maggie Toulouse Oliver lost a close race for New Mexico Secretary of State but appears to be passionate enough about issues like voting rights to make another attempt for a higher office.”