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The Drug Addiction Scourge in New Mexico

The Drug Addiction Scourge in New Mexico is Shifting from the Back Alleys to the Medicine Cabinet.

Alcohol dependence or abuse in New Mexico has been above the United States averages every year since 2008. In fact, alcohol related poisoning rates in the state exceed the death rate of alcohol related motor vehicle accidents.

The drug overdose mortality rate in New Mexico is the second highest in the United States, with 23.8 per 100,000 people suffering drug overdose fatalities.

But the problems with alcohol are not the same as what's happening with prescription drug abuse and addiction and overdose.

In New Mexico, the drugs that most commonly lead to unintentional death from overdose are prescription opioids. This group includes medications such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine and methadone. While these are prescribed for various reasons, their strength, addiction potential and abuse potential are such that many professionals believe they should be dispensed much more carefully and sparingly.

In the four year period from 2007 to 2011, 50% of the unintentional overdose deaths in New Mexico involved one or more of these pain-killers. By comparison, in the same period, heroin was involved with 33% of the state's overdose deaths.

Tranquilizers were mentioned in 27%, tranquilizers in another 27% and cocaine with 25%.

The problem isn't restricted to those persons who are abusing these drugs or are addicted to them. Drugs of these types can be helpful or dangerous for anyone if not taken properly.

To prevent the possibility of overdose, here are several points to keep in mind:

Common Opioid Medications

Illicit Drug Use in the Past Month among Persons Aged 12 or Older in New Mexico, by Substate Region: Percentages, Annual Averages Based on 2010, 2011, and 2012 NSDUHs (Source: SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, National Survey on Drug Use and Health)

Accidental drug overdoses account for more than 80 percent of drug-induced deaths, in New Mexico.

New Mexico State Government Agencies

Drug Abuse Facts

Drug Abuse Information

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