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Health And Public Safety

Proposed Behavioral Health Initiatives Will Leverage and Expand Existing Resources


Bernalillo County is committed to leveraging and expanding existing resources within the community that will improve behavioral health outcomes and reduce crime related to substance use disorders.

On tonight’s agenda at the County Commission meeting are three administrative resolutions that will move toward that goal.

“Filling service gaps in the behavioral healthcare continuum is one of our top priorities,” states Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins. “The administrative resolutions on tonight’s meeting agenda will help our community by improving public safety, reducing crime related to substance abuse and, most importantly, decreasing opioid use and deaths over time.”

The first administrative resolution will expand the use of naloxone to individuals discharging from the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) or Bernalillo County’s Department of Addiction Treatment Services (DATS) who have received the appropriate training. Naloxone is a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose. Contractors and county partners will assist with the implementation of this initiative.

The second administrative resolution will expand the Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) programs available at both MDC and the DATS campus to include induction and maintenance of methadone. The use of pharmacological medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, is an established evidence-based “best practice” for treatment of substance use disorders and has been endorsed by the National Commission on Correctional Healthcare. MDC will be one of the few in the country to offer induction of methadone.

Methadone induction is the process of initiating the opioid replacement medication treatment to suppress symptoms of opioid withdrawal, extinguish opioid-drug craving, and block the reinforcing effects of illicit opioids.

“Expanding the county’s substance abuse treatment programs will extend these effective and proven services to those individuals who need it, when they need it, helping to break the cycle of crime that brings them into the criminal justice system,” states Hart Stebbins.

The third administrative resolution will establish an eight-member Addiction Treatment Advisory Board. The advisory board will consist of medical professionals and addiction specialists who will make policy recommendations to help align the county’s programming, establish consistency and ensure best practices for county administered programs and services.

Commissioner Maggie Hart Stebbins is asking the commission to support and approve these administrative resolutions that will ultimately help to reduce drug-related crimes, improve public safety, and decrease opioid deaths.

The two expanded drug treatment programs will be additional options available to those individuals who require continued drug assistance.

No additional county funding is being requested for the proposed initiatives. Medication Assisted Treatments and naloxone are sustainable in the community through Medicaid.

If passed, the Addiction Treatment Advisory Board will begin efforts towards recommending effective protocols for county implementation.

For more information about the behavioral health administrative resolutions, please visit http://bernalillocountynm.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=1576&Inline=True.

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