Governor Announces Grant to Fight Drug Overdose Fatalities
Today, Governor Susana Martinez announced the awarding of a $200,000 grant from the Pfizer Inc. Naloxone Access Program to fight drug overdose deaths in New Mexico. New Mexico is one of five states receiving grant funding from Pfizer to fund initiatives focused on increasing public awareness of risks of opioid addiction.
“As a prosecutor for 25 years and as Governor, I’ve seen first-hand the devastating impact prescription drug abuse has on our state,” Governor Susana Martinez said. “While we’re proud of the steps we’ve taken to fight opioid abuse, there’s more we can and will do to protect New Mexicans from tragedy.”
Governor Martinez’s administration continues to take a comprehensive approach to fighting drug abuse in New Mexico:
- In 2014, New Mexico became the first state nationwide to provide pharmacists with prescriptive authority for Naloxone.
- Last year, the Governor Signed Legislation designed to improve prescribing practices and further expand access to Naloxone. The state has worked with pharmacies to increase the availability of Naloxone and increase the number of pharmacies dispensing it.
- The administration has also expanded outpatient treatment programs, removed prior authorization for Suboxone under Medicaid, and is expanding the number of Methadone clinics and the number of these clinics that accept Medicaid.
"Fighting the opioid overdose epidemic continues to be a critical issue for the New Mexico Department of Health,” said Department of Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher. “Pfizer’s funding will allow us to advance our ongoing efforts to address prevention, treatment and effective response to opioid misuse and abuse and will expand our education opportunities for both health care providers and communities statewide.”
Grant funding received from Pfizer will help the New Mexico Department of Health continue efforts to ensure patient safety through educational activities associated with appropriate use of prescription medicines. Funding will supplement current education efforts such as the “No Exceptions” drug awareness program, participation in National Prescription Drug Take Back Day; prevention efforts such as the Prescription Monitoring Program; and policy initiatives such as coverage of Naloxone through Centennial Care.
“Pfizer has a long-standing commitment to improving health outcomes by expanding access to medicines and ensuring patient safety through educational activities,” said Caroline Roan, vice president, Corporate Responsibility, Pfizer. “Our support of New Mexico Department of Health’s work to increase community education about the risks of opioid abuse and recently expanded Naloxone Access Program underscore our dedication to helping address the growing opioid overdose epidemic.”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced last month New Mexico’s drug overdose death rate improved from 49th worst in the nation to 43rd. New Mexico saw a 7 percent decline in drug overdose deaths from 2014 to 2015 as the nationwide overdose death rate increased by nearly 11 percent.
Opioid overdose is a growing public health epidemic in the United States. Misuse, abuse, and addiction are serious potential dangers relating to prescription opioids. According to the CDC, 78 Americans die every day from opioid-related overdose, with most incidents occurring outside of a medical setting, such as at home. The Pfizer Naloxone Access Program works to improve health outcomes by expanding access to medicines such as naloxone, which can reverse an overdose by blocking the effect of opioids on the brain and restore breathing.
For more information on prescription opioid safety, visit the DOH Opioid Safety section of our website.
We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact Paul Rhien at 505-470-2290 (Office) with your questions.
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