New Mexico Drug Rehab Is Here To Help
With a very large land area and a very small population, there is already little doubt why New Mexico has become a sanctuary for drug manufacturers and New Mexico drug rehab centers. Since its geographical location is composed mainly of numerous remote roads leading to major highways, smugglers can easily enter the state to smuggle their illegal substances. It also does not help that New Mexico is accessible through 3 interstate highways. In addition to that, lax security at the border with Mexico makes it possible for large amounts of drugs to pour into the state. The leading drug dependence problem in the state is cocaine addiction. Cocaine is rampantly exchanged through El Paso via discreet land vehicles that can contain as much as 50 kilograms of the said substance. According to reports, there had been almost 800 pounds of cocaine seized by the authorities in the state.
In a report given by New Mexico’s health department during the late 90’s, the number one cause of early death among its residents is alcohol and drug abuse. Lots of New Mexico drug rehabs had reported deaths also. The cause of death varies, some die due to liver cirrhosis, some due to suicide, and some due to vehicular accidents. However, it boils down to one cause, abusive substance consumption. Records how that New Mexico has the highest rate of drug abuse in the United States. Nationwide, New Mexico has double the percentage rate of drug and alcohol addiction.
The interstate shipment, including importation, of unapproved new drugs is prohibited in the U.S. “Unapproved” drugs are any medicines that have not received the FDA’s approval and include foreign-made versions of U.S.-approved drugs.
Controlled substances including, but not limited to, tranquilizers and pain killers, are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Although New Mexico has its own war with drugs they also have New Mexico Drug Rehab centers for those seeking help with their addictions.
Illegal drug use plagues every state in the Union to some extent, and New Mexico is no different from its neighbors or the rest of the country. That said, a major trend change is occurring among neighborhoods, community and regions, and that is predominantly a major shift into prescription drugs versus the traditional illegal drugs. In fact, aside from marijuana use, which is becoming so acceptable that legislation is now being passed in many states to allow it, the next biggest drug element is controlled pharmaceuticals.
New Mexico has long been in the news for its drug problems. It’s had so much awareness and spotlight, real news now is more about when there is an absence of problems in the state with substance abuse. For example (http://www.health.state.nm.us/ERD/SubstanceAbuse/NMDOH-ERD-SubstanceAbuse-SEOW-2013-EN.pdf):
• The state’s alcohol-related mortality rate is 1.9 times greater than the rest of the nation.
• New Mexico until recently claimed the highest rank for drug-related overdoses in the U.S.
• Suicide deaths are two times higher in New Mexico than the rest of the U.S.
These statistics don’t happen by accident. They are the build-up of years of addiction and availability of hard drugs and alcohol starting at a very young age.
New Mexico and modern culture have never mixed well. Problems between the indigenous cultures and the white immigrant movement into the state started early on as settlers were seen as bringing corruptive influences with them. Pueblo Indian tribes at first resisted the forays of the settlers and the Mexican military until they found themselves squeezed between hostile, and much worse, Apache tribes and the white man on the opposite side. Protection provided by Mexican settlers became an open door for Pueblo addiction problems starting with alcohol.
However, in the late 1840s local Pueblo tribes rebelled against what they saw was the source of many of their social problems in the American settlers. New Mexico had just been won over as territory from Mexico, whose forces had essentially abandoned the area without a fight in 1846. However, the local population of Hispanics and Indians weren’t pleased with the new authorities. The new governor was murdered in 1847 during an uprising, and a major supplier of whiskey in the area was burned to the ground hours later. Six months later, the U.S. military holed up the culprits in a church and blew the building apart with cannons until the rebels ran out to their deaths (http://dev.newmexicohistory.org/filedetails.php?fileID=515). Many have blamed this period, along with Mexican colonization in prior years of Pueblo tribes, as the root cause of generational weakness, setting the stage for mass addiction of tribespeople and poor families across the state for years to come.
The dramatic impact of World War II opened large social doors and opportunities for drugs to start finding their ways into New Mexico in the late 1940s. Part of this came from soldiers’ exposure to drugs while serving overseas and then returning home, and part of it came from the first avenues of globalization occurring as the U.S., now a conquering nation, set up numerous trade routes from Asia and Africa and South America, creating new pathways that never existed before for smuggling.
Black-tar heroin was one of the first hard drugs to start appearing early in New Mexico during these early years, and it has stayed established in the state since that time (http://www.counterpunch.org/2004/11/06/heroin-cocaine-and-espa-ntilde-ola-new-mexico/). With such a long history the heroin addiction in the state has become multi-generational. By 1999 what is normally considered a strong benefit in the form of very connected families actually has been the cause of the opposite in high forms of addiction. Families continued to reinforce addition on generations and addicts despite recovery program participation. However, where in the past an addiction developed over 30 years’ of pressure and exposure in the past, today’s addicts are getting to their out-of-control point much sooner in life with far more heroin and far strong optional drugs.
New Mexico has the unwanted and notable reputation for having the most drug overdose fatalities in the country. Less than a year and half ago, the state closed the 2012 year with over 500 fatalities confirmed as overdoses. (http://www.scpr.org/programs/take-two/2013/12/16/35134/wins-and-losses-seen-in-new-mexicos-efforts-to-red/). While the state Department of Health has been putting extreme attention on the northern part of the state for the last 20 years, the entire jurisdiction has been realizing damages and deaths from the prevalence of illegal drug use. When combined with alcohol abuse, the problem grows even worse. Specifically:
• 9 out of 10 material abuse deaths are associated with a combination of alcohol or drugs or both.
• 8 out of 10 drug-related deaths are not due to gang-related violence or abuse. Instead, the high statistic comes from drug overdoses.
• Among the most abused drugs pharmaceutical and traditional illegal drugs are in high competition. The most popular drugs to abuse are heroin, morphine, oxycodone, methadone and cocaine. Alcohol is also a major competitor for damage and abuse.
• A whopping 9 out of 10 criminal cases in New Mexico are directly related to a drug addiction or dependency.
New Mexico experts have to chart their successes where they can so, as morbid as it sounds, the state often points to success when the considering the death statistics from 2011 to 2012; the over 500 deaths are actually 7 percent less in 2012 than the previous year. Yet New Mexico still counts as the worst state in the nation regardless of the change.
The northern part of the state has the most noted history of drug abuse. With generational addiction and abuse, the area is often referred to as a lost cause because addiction is so prevalent and embedded in the communities. Just about every level of community sees and deals with the problem, including the public health institutions, the schools, the social services, and, of course, law enforcement.
Given the well-established demand and distribution network, organized crime has targeted the northern state region for its own territory. As a result, the area is seeing a rise of Mexican drug cartel activity which is impacting trafficking, crimes for drug-funding, and drug-related violence. Just about every law enforcement agency is attributing the high rates in state crime of all types with illegal drug use and related elements.
The Biggest Threat Elements
As of 2013, according to the federal government, the largest element of illegal drug movement is, no surprise, the Mexican cartels and Mexican drug trafficking networks (http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/mtgs/pharm_awareness/conf_2013/march_2013/drug_trends_1303.pdf). Well established over years of infiltration and border crossing, illegal gang activity from south of the border has been moving kilograms of narcotics both locally and regionally, distributing from New Mexico to other states.
Federal efforts have been frequently enhanced with regional drug task forces headquartered in Santa Fe. These efforts have put a premium on stopping the traffic of heroin, cocaine and crack, and marijuana specifically. That said, despite governmental efforts, some areas of New Mexico are simply infested with illegal drug availability. For example, Rio Arriba County is a prime source of heroin. The same drug is found in great quantity in the Espanola Valley as well as the Rio Grande regions. In fact, heroin use is notably multi-generational. Law enforcement has repeatedly found situations where three generations of family are not only involved in using the drug but distributing and trafficking it as well.
High quality heroin is also fairly easy to find and buy in-state. A 2012 source found the illegal drug being sold for at least as $100/gram (https://www.drugfree.org/join-together/community-related/new-mexico-grapples-with-widespread-drug-problem). That an equivalent cost to what heroin sold for on the average city street nationally back in the late 1970s. At such a low price with such a high level of quality, it’s no surprise there are so many New Mexico addicts at a young age with the hard drug.
In the same vein, teens continue to be a primary demand source in the state for illegal drugs in general. Where one out of five high school students in other states have tried illegal drugs at some point in their high school career, New Mexico teens have a higher prevalence of one out of four students. Further, the types of usage are far stronger in New Mexico than in other states. Where many high school students in other states focus on softer drugs such as marijuana or acid, New Mexico students have shown a higher frequency or harder drug use such as heroin, cocaine, meth, ecstasy and inhalants.
The Controlled Pharmaceutical Growth
Through 2013, the most commonly-abused pharmaceuticals in New Mexico state include (http://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/mtgs/pharm_awareness/conf_2013/march_2013/drug_trends_1303.pdf):
There was a time when law enforcement would know an illegal drug when they saw it on a criminal in New Mexico. Now, officers are very likely to carry a portable copy of the Physician’s Desk Reference with them to determine blue pills from red ones from green ones and their type of pharmaceutical involved. Worse, the access to prescription drugs is an extremely easy one to obtain by teens and addicts. 55 percent of respondents in a survey indicated they got access to prescription drugs for free through a friend or known contact or a family relative. 18 percent bought them from a friend or relative, 17 percent obtained prescription drugs directly from a doctor, and the remaining 5 percent obtained the pharmaceuticals from illegal sources (http://www.abqjournal.com/124100/news/prescription-drugs-kill-more-in-nm-than-heroin.html).
New Mexico doesn’t stand alone in its problem with prescription drug abuse. Nationally, in comparison, abuse of painkillers and opioids is estimated to produce a $53.4 billion loss of productivity as well as expenses associated with crime and medical treatment after the fact. And, to make matters worse, treatment for the problem is sparing and uncommon. In fact 1 out of 10 cases actually see treatment to get off their addiction to prescription drugs (http://healthyamericans.org/reports/drugabuse2013/release.php?stateid=NM).
The official platform of solving the prescription drug abuse problem in New Mexico is multi-faceted, and currently includes the following efforts:
– Educating communities and the public on what prescription drug abuse can cause and how it can damage lives and careers.
– Enforce and promote professional prescription practices between doctors and pharmacies, including pushing a better understanding of how medications can be abused by patients if not controlled adequately.
– Improve education for professionals on how to secure and store pharmaceuticals as well how to dispose leftover medication.
– Ensure that patients who do need specific drugs can gain legal access to them without being barred by bureaucracy.
– Improve linkages between electronic health records and drug monitoring so that early abuse signs in patients can be spotted faster for intervention.
– Improve local agency and clinic access to rescue medications that can break overdoses and addictions.
– Expand rehabilitation programs to break the drug abuse cycle.
However, the state continues to have a long road to travel to recovery, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any shorter any time soon.
New Mexico also has plenty of reputation for drinking abuse as well. For example, Rio Arriba County has an alcohol-related death mortality of 112.2 per every 100,000 residents. Yet with 225 actual deaths in 2013 in Rio Arriba, it’s a low end when Bernalilo County has over 1,600 deaths in the same time period associated with alcohol (1,649 to be exact, see http://www.health.state.nm.us/ERD/SubstanceAbuse/NMDOH-ERD-SubstanceAbuse-SEOW-2013-EN.pdf).
Among the legal causes of death that don’t involve drug abuse, violence, or murder, alcohol is related to eight of the 10 causes of death in New Mexico, directly or indirectly. These include:
– Heart problems.
– Unintentional injuries.
– Malignant neoplasms.
– Chronic lower respiratory diseases.
– Cerebrovascular disease.
– Chronic liver disease.
– Alzheimer’s disease.
– General heart disease.
Where alcohol abuse doesn’t kill, it wrecks lives fairly methodically. The state’s problem has given it the unenviable reputation of having the fifth highest level of drunk driving deaths in the nation in 1996. By 2010, the state had dropped this impact to being the 13th highest in the country, but it’s still worse than 47 other states in the Union, which is staggering in number (http://nmhealth.org/erd/healthdata/documents/NMDOH-ERD-SubstanceAbuse-Report-DWIOffenderCharacteristicsAndRecidivism-2000-2010-EN.pdf).
More specifically, New Mexico still sees the following the alcohol abuse (http://nmhealth.org/erd/healthdata/documents/NMDOH-ERD-SubstanceAbuse-Report-DWIOffenderCharacteristicsAndRecidivism-2000-2010-EN.pdf):
• Males are more prone to be drunk drivers than females.
• Indian and Hispanics ended up being in drunk driving violations far higher than any other demographic in the state.
• The largest population of drunk drivers aged from 25 to 34 years old.
• 1 out of 4 drunk drivers were unemployed versus only 4 percent of the regular population in the state.
• Ironically, drinking establishments and bars were the primary source of alcohol for New Mexico drunk drivers, which is where consumption can in theory be controlled the most. 1 in 4 violators were driving drunk coming from a bar.
The Economic Impact
Addiction and substance abuse is felt by every taxpayer in New Mexico. However, because the cost is not seen as a direct charge on each individual, it gets buried in the general service programs of the state’s various government levels. For example, the estimated expense of addiction in New Mexico totaled $2.5 billion, or $1,250 per every person in the state (http://nmhealth.org/ERD/SubstanceAbuse/NMDOH-ERD-SubstanceAbuse-SEOW-2013-EN.pdf).
Despite sharing the stage with Vermont in having the most active programs operating in-state to combat drug abuse, New Mexico still realizes a huge portion of the $53.4 billion cost realized annually in criminal law enforcement costs and productivity loss at work (http://www.pewstates.org/projects/stateline/headlines/some-states-better-prepared-to-fight-prescription-drug-abuse-85899510660).
The biggest issue felt is long-term and it comes in the lost opportunity of generations suffering from addiction. The state breaks its victim categories down into three groups (http://www.samhsa.gov/data/StatesInBrief/2k9/NEW_MEXICO_508.pdf):
• Youth – ages 12 to 17 years old
• Young – ages 18 to 25 years old
• Adult – ages 26 years and older
The state ranks consistently among the top 5 state in the nation with addicts in the youth category. In an almost numb fashion, these children then migrate to the young category with their first stints with law enforcement and incarceration well before reaching the age of 25. By the time they recover enough to know what’s going on, they’ve lost years as well as the opportunity to have any kind of a meaningful career start. They often become parents by this point as well, repeating the cycle with new children and another generation.
New Mexico is an addiction battle-weary state, with generation after generation of its residents suffering or losing family members to illegal drugs, pharmaceuticals or the bottle. While the state continues to try combating the problem both with direct law enforcement as well as with diversion and rehabilitation programs, the social fabric of the state is such that the very sources of family and close support push a person right back into addiction. As a result, many consider the state to be in a losing battle, with the only gains made when the addict population shifts from one drug to another one. And each new generation of teens adds hundreds and thousands of new recruits to replace those who are finally too far gone or have died.
No surprise, Mexican organized crime has found fertile ground in the state, particularly the northern region, using it has a base to launch distribution paths into the rest of the country. Almost all are in agreement that to stop this movement as well as to turn around the condition of the state in general, the federal and state government authorities will need to dedicate far more manpower and funding to the effort, which doesn’t seem to be happening anytime soon.
Contact Us To Speak To One Of Our Counselors
Suffering under the hands of addiction should not have to be a way of life for anyone. The state and local governments of New Mexico are trying to increase the access that people have to the help that they need to overcome addiction by providing more options in the way of drug rehab facilities. If you or a loved one is seeking help for addiction, please call us. Our licensed drug and alcohol addiction counselors can help you find a treatment program at a drug rehab that can guide you toward a sober life and a successful future. Find a New Mexico drug rehab today!