Editor:

    The fact that we are living with an opioid epidemic in this country, state and the Española Valley is not news to anyone reading this letter.

    While by no means a comprehensive solution, increasing access to naloxone is something every community can take action on right away to help decrease opioid overdoses is increasing access to naloxone.

    New Mexico has been a leader in increasing access to naloxone by requiring all first responders to carry the drug, providing greater access at the pharmacy counter, and encouraging co-prescription of the medication for at-risk patients. These regulatory changes have helped protect vulnerable populations in New Mexico, but there is still much more that can be accomplished through increased co-prescription in federal health care programs.

    Co-prescription of naloxone would not only improve patient outcomes—it is also cost effective.

    Opioid-related Intensive Care Unit admissions are increasing in both number and price. However, studies show that access to naloxone drastically reduces the number of emergency department visits, ultimately reducing overdose costs.

    I thank U.S. Rep. Ben Lujan for his work to support naloxone access to date and I look forward to his work with his colleagues in Congress to increase access to naloxone through a change in federal policy to encourage co-prescription, when appropriate. This will have enormous impact and set a precedent for coverage by private insurers and physician prescribing practices across the country. Guidance and regulations only work if implemented and followed. Medicare and Medicaid should take the lead on co-prescription.

    Mayor Javier Sanchez

    Española

(1) comment

Parent Advocate

I agree, Thank you Congressman Lujan.
Mayor, I hope you continue with efforts to aid those who are afflicted with this terrible situaiton. Both the addicts and their families.
A few things you can do just off the top of my head that can help both.
1. Work with the NMRTD to obtain grant funding to put in a scanning system on their busses that can scan cards. Cards that can be uploaded with money as often as needed via an online secure site. What this will do is help those loved ones who have to take these addicts to doctor appointments, probation officer meetings, corrections classes, work interviews, and work. What this will do is help the family provide a way to get the addicts around, especially those in the surrounding areas where the NMRTD will not pick up without a fee and a day's notice. Family are afraid to give cash to these addicts because they know they are more likely to go buy drugs than to utilize the transit system to get to their designation. The cards should be non-tranferrable with a photo and name on each card. The NMRTD needs help they don't have the resources to find the grants out there to implement such a project. You seem to be a very resourceful young man who can help direct them and get the paperwork started.
2. You can start hiring some of these addicts, even if it is only part-time. Give them a chance, because at this point no one wants to hire them. Their self esteem is so low that in their mind they can't ever get a job and this just makes them want to use more drugs. Some of them really do want to work, but no one will give them a chance. Many of them do not have their GED or Diploma. So they are barred from getting any government jobs. You can consider changing your policy to allow people to work as long as they are working in the evenings to get a GED. This will help them gain confidence, get educated and hopefully realize that they can move forward and get better jobs with more education. Right now they are down on themselves and need a lifting hand.
I hope your term as a Mayor is one that is successful in bringing Espanola back in to a positive limelight and helping those who need a lift up.
Thank you.

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