ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In 2017, 2 out of 3 overdose deaths in the state involved an opioid, according to the New Mexico Department of Health.  

That’s just one of the reasons lawmakers from New Mexico are stepping up to help fight opioid abuse.

Recently, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, along with U.S. Representatives Ben Ray Luján, Deb Haaland, and Xochitl Torres Small announced that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has awarded three grants totaling $600,000 to rural communities across New Mexico and Indian Country in order to help combat the opioid epidemic.

Additionally, Udall, Luján and Haaland announced their support for the 2019 CARE Act.

If approved, the legislation would earmark $100 billion in federal funding over the next 10 years.

“Now we’re faced with this crisis. Children being addicted, children’s parents overdosing and dying, children not being taken care of,” Haaland said. “So it’s a situation we all need to be aware of and work toward.”

Saturday Haaland worked with detectives from the Albuquerque Police Department to learn more about opioid addiction, abuse and overdoses.

“So we were able to learn more from the enforcement side and more from the social side,” she said.

The training included information on how to use Narcan to help treat overdoses.

Haaland said now her and her staff are prepared to help – especially given their office’s downtown location.