The Problem

Controlled prescription drugs

colorfulprescriptionpillsAccording to the New Mexico Department of Health, over 1.6 million opioid prescriptions were filled in the state in 2016.  Perhaps it is no coincidence that between 2001 and 2016 New Mexico’s drug overdose death rate increased at the same time opioid sales to pharmacies increased. 1

In 2017, 88 percent of all drug overdose deaths were unintentional. Between 2013 and 2017, 36 percent of overdose deaths were due to prescription drugs, 40 percent were caused by illicit drugs, and 22 percent involved both. See the report for more details, and see the map for overall drug overderdose death rates by county.

Unfortunately, prescription drug abuse can often lead to illegal drug use.  Nationwide, among new heroin users, 75 percent report having abused prescription opioids before using heroin.2

The High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) program, created by Congress with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988, provides assistance to Federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies operating in areas determined to be critical drug-trafficking regions of the United States.  For information about HIDTA, please visit the HIDTA website, or click here for more information on current drug trafficking concerns in your New Mexico county.

1 New Mexico Department of Health, December 2018. Source:
2 Heroin Overdose Data. Center of Disease Control and Prevention. Source:

The Problem

Between 2013 and 2017, opioid overdose-related Emergency Room visits increased by 51%.

Prescription Drugs: New Mexico’s Crisis

Mora, Grant and McKinley counties have the highest painkiller misuse rate among highschoolers in the state.

Drug-Related Overdoses

New Mexico was ranked No. 17 in the nation for drug overdose death in 2017.