The Latest: New Mexico no longer leads in drug fatalities
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The Latest on an opioid crisis summit in New Mexico (all times local):
New Mexico is likely to fall further in a national ranking of states when it comes to drug overdose deaths, largely because fatalities have increased elsewhere.
State Epidemiologist Michael Landen on Thursday said he expects New Mexico to fall to about 15th place in the rate of drug overdose deaths in 2016 from its eight-place ranking the prior year.
He says overdose deaths have stabilized in New Mexico, as fatalities accelerate in many other states. Nevada now rivals New Mexico for the highest overdose death rate in the western United States.
At the same time, New Mexico appears to be faring better than many states when it comes to fatalities linked to the powerful opioid painkiller called fentanyl.
A federal report last week linked more than half of recent opioid overdose deaths in 10 states to fentanyl. Of those states, New Mexico and Oklahoma reported the lowest percentage of fentanyl-involved deaths
Public health experts are looking for additional solutions to New Mexico’s opioid addiction crisis at a policy summit in the state capital.
State Rep. Deborah Armstrong helped organize the Thursday gathering and hopes it will help enhance and expand successful approaches to combatting the opioid crisis, especially if more federal funding were to become available for New Mexico.
President Donald Trump last week declared opioid abuse a national public health emergency without promising additional spending.
Overdose death rates in New Mexico have hovered well above the national average, even as the state has implemented pioneering policies to rein in fatalities.
Trump’s commission on the opioid crisis called Wednesday for more drug courts, more training for doctors and penalties for insurers that dodge covering addiction treatment.