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CABQ Awarded Federal Grant to Fight Opioid Crisis

The three year funding will be used for peer to peer mentorship.

Albuquerque, NM – Today, Mayor Richard J. Berry and the Family and Community Services Department announced that the City will receive a $298,000 grant from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to combat opioid addiction and overdose by starting the Albuquerque Peer to Peer Project.

To help combat these staggering numbers of opioid-related incidents, Albuquerque will use the DOJ 3-year grant funds to start a new program called Albuquerque Peer to Peer Project. In collaboration with UNMH, the peer engagement approach, will initially take place in a hospital and/or emergency department setting, following an overdose reversal. Additional aspects of the project include coordination and expansion of resources with the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) Crisis Outreach and Support Team (COAST), an existing cooperative effort between APD and the Department of Family and Community Services.

“We can make strides to combat our nation’s opioid epidemic,” said Mayor Berry. “With the support of this federal grant, we are opening doors by working with survivors to heal, improve, and break the cycle of addiction.”

Albuquerque and Bernalillo County first responders are increasingly responding to opioid-related overdose calls for service. To illustrate the impact of the opioid crisis in our city, the Albuquerque Fire Department (AFD) reported nearly 600 confirmed opioid-related overdoses within the city between January 2015 and June 2016. While University of New Mexico Hospital (UNMH) Emergency Department and Psychiatric Emergency Services Department reported 2,051 opioid-related encounters.

“The goal of the Albuquerque Peer to Peer Project is to collaboratively and proactively address the City of Albuquerque’s increasing opioid overdose and death rates by connecting survivors of an overdose with detox and substance abuse treatment and support services immediately following the overdose through engagement with a certified peer, someone who has experienced addiction and recovery,” explained Family and Community Services Director Douglas H. Chaplin.

APD’s COAST provides response and follow-up services for behavioral health crisis calls that present a relatively low public safety threat. Through the grant, COAST will now connect family members and survivors of a non-fatal overdose with treatment information and, eventually, listings of community-based peer engagement specialists.

In addition to the collaboration with UNMH and APD COAST, the City will also partner with Bernalillo County Opioid Accountability Initiative, a multi-sector collective impact strategy group, formed in 2012 under the non-profit Bernalillo County Community Health Council. The partnership will align activities and strengthen the prevention, treatment, harm reduction methods, and law enforcement/criminal justice systems in Bernalillo County in order to reduce incidence of opioid overdose deaths.