Drug Overdose Death in NM See Slight Decline


Drug Overdose Death in New Mexico See Slight Decline

Staff Report

Lori Peterson, MPH, MS and Jim Davis, MA Epidemiology and Response Division New Mexico Department of Health released a report in March detailing the current status and history of drug overdose deaths in New Mexico, and how the state is doing on a county-by-county basis and compared to other states.

New Mexico has high levels of opioid overdoses but this is not unique to the nation. The entire United States is experiencing a drug overdose epidemic. New Mexico is among the states with drug overdose death rates that are higher than national rates; it ranked eighth compared to the other 50 states in 2015.

This is an improvement over 2014, when New Mexico’s drug overdose rates had been the second highest in the nation. 2015 numbers showed a decline of overdose deaths by 7.5%.

Seven NM counties had drug overdose death rates in 2011-2015 that were lower than the national rate (See graph below). Fourteen counties had drug overdose death rates that were higher than the NM rate. Rio Arriba County had the highest death rate from drug overdose (85.8 deaths per 100,000) among NM counties with Catron following in second place with a rate  (75.6 deaths per 100,000).

Graph #4 from report. Courtesy

A review of the history showed that drug overdose death rates tripled between 1990 and 2015 in NM due largely to addiction to prescription opioids, with Hispanic males demonstrating the highest risk of drug overdose deaths.

The type of drug listed in 2015 OMI records showed that 72.5% of drug overdose deaths in NM involved opioids (Figure 3). Of the deaths that involved opioids, 50.4% involved prescription opioids, 43.3% involved heroin and 6.3% involved both

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