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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of New Mexico

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 8, 2016

New Mexico HOPE Initiative Launches Community Education Program

UNM Health Sciences Center and U.S. Attorney’s Office Partnership Targets Heroin and Opioid Addiction and Overdose Deaths – New Website, Billboards, Social Media, and Community and Student Education Programs to Launch this Month

ALBUQUERQUE – Millions of Americans from coast to coast struggle daily with the negative effects of the nation’s opioid and heroin crisis, but few states are harder hit with overdose deaths than New Mexico.  To tackle this growing crisis, Chancellor Paul B. Roth of UNM’s Health Sciences Center and U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez launched the New Mexico HOPE – Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education – Initiative in January 2015.

This initiative is already seeing results.  More people are receiving treatment for addiction, and more criminals are being prosecuted for drug trafficking.  Now, those efforts will be more fully supported by a comprehensive education program.

“Drug abuse exacts a terrible toll on our community,” said Dr. Roth, a longtime emergency room physician. “This initiative is an important collaboration between our health system and law enforcement to find creative solutions to help people find their way out of the maze of drug addiction.”

“This epidemic does not discriminate.  It impacts the lives of the infant born addicted to opioids, and the high school athlete who becomes addicted to opioid painkillers prescribed for an injury and later dies from a heroin overdose, and the grandparent who ends up addicted to opioid painkillers following a medical procedure and doesn’t know where to turn for help.  And it impacts the lives of families who are devastated by their loved ones’ addiction and overdose deaths,” said U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez.  “Through this Initiative, the medical and law enforcement communities are working together to bring hope to New Mexico by educating our communities about the dangers of prescription painkillers and heroin to prevent more New Mexicans from succumbing to this epidemic.”

The HOPE Initiative’s education efforts will be aimed at preventing abuse and addiction in our state’s youth, as well as helping those who are currently suffering from addiction, to find help and hope of recovery.  It will also offer support for families struggling to find treatment and other resources for their loved ones who are addicted.  Neighbors, coworkers, and others who feel that their safety may be jeopardized by someone’s addiction to or trafficking of opioid painkillers and heroin, can also find help and resources under this program.

UNM Health Sciences Center and the U.S. Attorney’s office, in collaboration with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Bernalillo County Opioid Accountability Initiative and Healing Addiction in our Community (HAC), a non-profit organization, will be utilizing a newly launched website, billboards, social media, the news media, and community and student education programs to reach the public with messages of prevention, treatment, public safety, and hope.

To view the website, go to hopeinitiativenm.org.  Billboards are located at 15 locations in Bernalillo County, most within the vicinity of high schools.  An image of the billboard and a list of the billboard locations are attached.  Interested New Mexicans can follow HOPE on https://twitter.com/USAO_NM and https://www.facebook.com/usaonm/.   For information on scheduling an educational event, contact USANM.HOPE@usdoj.gov.  Upcoming event schedules will be available on the website.

HOPE Billboard              HOPE Billboard Locations

Topic(s): 
Community Outreach
Component(s): 
Updated April 8, 2016