NM Delegation Announces Over $9.4 Million in Grant Awards to Combat Opioid Epidemic and Substance Abuse in New Mexico

September 21, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and Xochitl Torres Small (D-N.M.) announced that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has awarded over $9.4 million in grants to combat the opioid epidemic and substance abuse in communities across New Mexico, including several Tribal communities. The funding will go toward addiction treatment, recovery services, lifesaving overdose prevention, and reducing Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) among newborn babies exposed to opioids before birth.

The New Mexico Department of Human Services, the Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos, the Pueblo of Taos and Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo received grants from SAMHSA’s State and Tribal Opioid Response (SOR and TOR) programs. The program aims to address the opioid crisis by increasing access to medication-assisted treatment, reducing unmet treatment need, and reducing opioid overdose related deaths. SOR and TOR also support evidence-based prevention, treatment and recovery support services to address stimulant use disorders, including for cocaine and methamphetamine.

El Centro Family Health in Española additionally received funding to prevent NAS from the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP). The program will fund outreach efforts to improve systems of care, family and caregiver support, and social determinants of health for pregnant women, mothers, and women of childbearing age who have a history of or who are at risk for substance use disorder or opioid use disorder. 

The entire New Mexico delegation fought to increase funding for the Opioid Response program in the most recent fiscal year appropriations bill, increasing the program’s flexibility to also address the abuse of stimulants such as methamphetamine that have contributed to an increasing number of overdose deaths in New Mexico.

“Many Tribes and communities across New Mexico have been hit hard by the opioid epidemic, even while the COVID-19 pandemic further disrupts our health care services and access to preventative care,” said Udall, a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “While these grants are an important step forward in a comprehensive approach to combat the opioid epidemic, I will continue to fight for funding to build a health care infrastructure that can better serve all New Mexicans.”

“The opioid epidemic has left too many in our tribal communities with the heavy burden of seeking treatment and recovery resources – that are too often underfunded,” said Heinrich. “I’m proud to welcome this much-needed federal funding and I will keep doing everything I can to fight for the resources and policies we need to ensure every New Mexican who needs it can find addiction treatment services and lifesaving care.”

“Substance use disorders are a public health crisis that tears families and communities apart. That is why I worked with the Obama administration and my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to initially pass these grants into law as part of the 21st Century Cures Act. These strong investments will help Pueblos and the state of New Mexico increase access to treatment, protect vulnerable newborns, and save lives. I’ll continue working to bring additional resources to New Mexico to support individuals and families struggling with addiction,” said Luján.

“Our communities have the power to combat substance abuse, but many times they lack the support to offer the resources those struggling with addiction and their families need. As someone who knows the struggle of addiction, I know how crucial that support can be. The funding received from SAMHSA grants will make treatment and recovery more accessible. I’ll continue to push for access to comprehensive health care for all and address the social and economic factors that lead to addiction,” said Haaland.

“As healthcare providers across New Mexico fight to provide care with limited resources, the opioid epidemic continues to devastate many of our tribal and rural communities. This funding is an important step towards ensuring providers are equipped with the resources needed to provide life-saving treatment and recovery services to our tribal communities,” said Torres Small. “Too many New Mexicans have lost loved ones to this epidemic and I’m continuing to fight for investments in our health care infrastructure so that New Mexicans can receive the care they need.”

A full breakdown of the $9,459,960 in funds is below:

  • New Mexico Department of Human Services, $7,533,719
  • Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos, $1,176,300
  • Pueblo of Taos, $125,000
  • Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, $124,942
  • El Centro Family Health, $499,999