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Heroin and Opioid Prevention and Education

At a time when the entire nation is confronting an opioid crisis that is affecting Americans in every state and from every background and walk of life, New Mexico, with one of the nation’s highest overdose death rates, is among the states hardest hit.  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 because the consequences of heroin and prescription opioid use affect all New Mexicans by impacting public safety, public health and the economic viability of our communities.

HOPE is a collaborative effort between the University of New Mexico’s Health Sciences Center and the U.S. Attorney’s Office that is partnering with the Bernalillo County Opioid Accountability Initiative with the principal goals of protecting our communities from the dangers associated with heroin and opioid painkillers and reducing the number of opioid-related deaths in New Mexico.  Recognizing that the opioid crisis is a unique problem with an enormous reach, the HOPE Initiative is comprised of five components – (1) prevention and education; (2) treatment; (3) law enforcement; (4) reentry; and (5) strategic planning – and advocates a broad, multi-dimensional approach to the challenges it presents.

HOPE recognizes that medical science and law enforcement have key roles in responding to this crisis, but acknowledges that prosecution and treatment are not enough.  It is committed to working collaboratively with a diverse cross-section of community stakeholders to develop new strategies for education, prevention and intervention.  At its core, the HOPE Initiative is about making New Mexico healthier, safer, stronger, and drug free!