Armstrong Bill to Reduce Overdose in New Mexico Passes Health Committee

Bill Directs DOH to Create Guidelines for Municipalities That Want to Establish ‘Safe Injection’ Sites

The House Health and Human Services Committee on Wednesday passed HB 123, Rep. Debbie Armstrong’s bill to give cities and counties the option to set up innovative overdose prevention programs under state guidelines.

“New Mexico’s rate of death by drug overdose is heartbreaking and unacceptable,” Armstrong said. “Overdose prevention programs are a proven, compassionate way to save lives and fight addiction. Drug overdose is a public health crisis and we need innovative policies to help individuals, families and communities recover from addiction.”

HB 123, which passed the committee unanimously, directs the Department of Health to establish guidelines for cities and counties around the state to set up so-called “safe-injection” sites where people struggling with addiction can go to safely administer their drugs and get access to social services to help them overcome addiction. Municipalities would not be required to set up such programs, rather they would have the ability to proactively establish such an overdose-prevention program if they choose.

“At these safe sites, local communities can prevent overdose and stop the spread of disease through dirty needles,” Armstrong said. “They can also help people access treatment, food assistance and other programs. These safe spaces can be the gateway to recovery.”

After HB 123 becomes law, New Mexico would be the first state to allow for the creation of these innovative overdose prevention programs. However, more than 100 such programs already exist in 10 countries around the world. Data collected from those programs show positive outcomes.

“These programs work,” Armstrong said. “They prevent overdoses, keep dirty needles out of public spaces, keep people out of jail and get people the help they need. New Mexicans deserve access to proven strategies that can save lives and rebuild communities devastated by addiction, one person at a time.”

HB 123 now goes to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.

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published this page in Latest News 2021-02-03 13:54:26 -0700

Paid for by Debbie Armstrong for New Mexico, Jill Riester, Treasurer

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