Recently in New Mexico the battle against drug related deaths has become more difficult than ever. New Mexico has the highest drug overdose death rate in the entire nation. This high death rate may be partially due to the fact that the state’s funds and attention have been focused on prevention of other substances of abuse.
Alcoholism and heroin addiction have haunted the state for years, but the drug of choice by addicted individuals has recently switched to prescription drugs. Awareness activism and law enforcement have lagged behind this trend.
In a span just short of 10 years the drug overdose rate has jumped 60% in New Mexico, with the majority being prescription drug related. Prescription drug overdose rates now outnumber that of all other
This epidemic in New Mexico is especially worrisome due to the fact that it doesn’t affect one small facet of the population. Prescription drug abuse spans socio-economic, race, gender, and age barriers. There seems to be no end in sight. Not only do many people become addicted to prescription drugs after an injury, prescription drug addiction often leads to more serious drug addictions such as heroin.
A simple injury can turn into a lifetime of addiction. Many users turn to heroin as an alternative when they can’t afford to buy prescription pills anymore. Doctors and politicians are at a crossroads about how to mitigate this issue through legislation. Although limiting access to prescription painkillers would help curve the number of addicts, it would also negatively affect those that are actually in pain and need these prescriptions to live their lives.
Also these restrictions could also push patients to unsafe alternatives such as buying prescriptions through unregulated means. For now, the residents of New Mexico are forced to try and improve drug treatment facilities in order to rehabilitate. Although treatment facilities are overloaded, the staff does what they can to help people with addiction problems. The first step is getting the person battling addiction into treatment as soon as possible.