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Result 1: Improved health status for New Mexicans

P003: Drug overdose death rate per 100,000 population

Current Value

24.8 per 100,000



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Story Behind the Curve

  • The current epidemic of overdose death nationally has been driven by the increased use and misuse of opioid pain relievers. Methamphetamines, benzodiazepines, and alcohol have also contributed significantly. National surveys show that most people who have recently initiated heroin use abused prescription opioids prior to initiating heroin use.
  • Almost 500 New Mexicans die of drug overdose every year. The highest death rates are among people aged 35-54 and in rural areas.
  • In 2016 the Legislature passed Senate Bill 263, requiring use of the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP). The PMP is an electronic database administered by the NM Board of Pharmacy (BOP) that collects records of all controlled substance prescriptions filled in New Mexico. This law provides more oversight and accountability for providers who prescribe opioids to patients. Also, the practitioner shall obtain and review a report from the PMP no less than once every three months for each established patient for whom the practitioner continuously prescribes or dispenses opioids. The receipt and review of PMP reports shall be documented in the patient's medical record.
  • Also in 2016 the Legislature passed Senate Bill 262 / House Bill 277 to increase access to naloxone.  Naloxone is a prescription drug that reverses the effects of an opioid (prescribed or illicit) overdose and is safe to use.


  • NM Human Services Department (HSD)
  • NM Children, Youth and Families Department
  • University of NM (UNM)
  • Drug Enforcement Agency 
  • BOP
  • NM Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention Program and Pain Management Advisory Council
  • Health care professional licensing boards
  • NM Regulation and Licensing Department
  • Health care professional associations
  • Health Councils
  • Pharmacies
  • Managed care organizations
  • NM Hospital Association
  • Office of the Medical Investigator
  • NM Workers’ Compensation Administration (WCA)
  • NM Department of Public Safety, State Police
  • High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area
  • Local law enforcement agencies

What Works

  • Maximizing the use of the PMP.
  • Improving controlled-substance prescribing practices through prescriber education.
  • Increasing public knowledge of the risks of controlled substances and of safe storage and disposal of medications.
  • Increasing the availability of treatment for drug dependence.
  • Increasing the availability of naloxone, which can reverse an opioid overdose.


  • Collect, analyze, and interpret public health surveillance data on drug use and related harms and on policy and environmental strategies to address it.
  • Disseminate findings on drug use and related harms to partners, stakeholders, and the public.
  • Provide technical assistance to public health partners on effective approaches for monitoring and reporting findings on drug use and related harms.
  • Work with the health care licensing boards in developing rules for controlled substance prescribing in response to recent legislation.
  • Work with the BOP to provide feedback reports on controlled substance prescribing to practitioners based on PMP data.
  • Support public education and information programs developed by the HSD Office of Substance Abuse Prevention with data and statistics.
  • Increase naloxone carry and administer programs in law enforcement.
  • Work with county multi-disciplinary work-groups in high-burden communities to develop local responses to the opioid overdose epidemic.

FY17 Annual Progress Summary

  • The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) compiled and analyzed prescribing data and developed quarterly Prescriber Feedback Reports and surveys in support of the BOP and the effort to improve prescribing practices.
  • NMDOH continued to administer and support the Prescription Drug Misuse and Overdose Prevention and Pain Management Advisory Council.
  • NMDOH is supporting WCA’s efforts to adopt a drug formulary in order to improve prescribing practices.
  • NMDOH provided technical assistance as the licensing boards updated their rules regarding checking the Prescription Monitoring Program.
  • NMDOH contracted with UNM to provide evidence-based training, i.e. academic detailing, to providers to improve prescribing practices.
  • NMDOH wrote two standing orders to increase access to naloxone. The standing orders are for pharmacies to dispense naloxone without a prescription and so that law enforcement officers can carry and administer naloxone to a person experiencing an opioid-related overdose.
  • NMDOH contracted to conduct training for law enforcement officers on naloxone carry-and-administer programs. Over three hundred officers have been trained so far.
  • NMDOH contracted to conduct training for pharmacies on naloxone. So far seven pharmacies have been trained.
  • NMDOH supported efforts by county multi-disciplinary work-groups in high-burden communities to improve prescribing practices, increase access to naloxone, and increase the availability of medication-assisted treatment.

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