Federal Officials Participate in New Mexico Pharmacists Association’s Mid-Winter Meeting
Representatives from U.S. Attorney’s Office and DEA Discuss Initiative to Address Heroin and Opioid Epidemic in New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE – Representatives from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the DEA participated in the New Mexico Pharmacists Association’s Mid-Winter Meeting held this weekend in Albuquerque, N.M., for the purpose of educating the Association’s membership about how prescription drug trafficking and abuse contributes to New Mexico’s heroin and opioid epidemic and enlisting their support in combatting the epidemic.
Group Supervisor Richard Stark of the Tactical Diversion Squad at the Albuquerque Office of the DEA delivered a presentation entitled, “The Prescription Drug Epidemic in New Mexico: How Promoting a Partnership between the DEA and Pharmacists Can Help.” Assistant U.S. Attorney Joel R. Meyers, Supervisor of the Organized Crime Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, discussed the New Mexico Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education (HOPE) Initiative. This Initiative, which was launched earlier this month, is a collaboration between the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in partnership with the Bernalillo County Opioid Accountability Initiative with the overriding goal of reducing the number of opioid-related deaths in the District of New Mexico.
“New Mexico’s opioid addiction and overdose death rates have been at or near the top of the national scale for years,” said U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez. “Under the HOPE Initiative, one way we will take on this epidemic is by educating medical professionals about how they can educate their patients, particularly young adults, about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.”
Special Agent in Charge Will Glaspy of DEA’s El Paso Division added, “DEA is committed to developing and maintaining strong working relationships with pharmacists and other registrants. By ensuring that pharmacists have the education and tools they need so they can educate parents and young people about the dangers of prescription drug misuse and abuse, we can and will make a difference in combatting this deadly epidemic.”
The HOPE Initiative comprised of five components: (1) prevention and education; (2) treatment; (3) law enforcement; (4) reentry; and (5) strategic planning. The participation of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the DEA in the New Mexico Pharmacists Association’s Med-Winter Meeting was undertaken under the prevention and education component of the HOPE Initiative.