Thursday, March 29, 2012

Treatment Center Funding Announced

Capital outlay monies going to treatment facility. With so much negative press about capital outlay these years, here is an example that should be highlighted as excellent pork! It is surprising the Governor did not line item veto it. DFNM wrote a peice about this project back in September, follow this link.

Huge kudos to Senator Michael Sanchez and the other Democrats who helped this project get passed and funded. Voting matters. Remember the "in again out again" republican Rep. David Chavez is challenging Senator Sanchez for his Valencia County seat. We must retain Senator Sanchez.

Press release in it's entirety:

The fight against substance abuse is getting much-needed financial assistance from the state thanks to two appropriations obtained during the recently completed legislative session. Senator Michael S. Sanchez (D-29-Valencia County) announced $5 million was included in the capital outlay bill for phase two construction of the Henry Perea Center for Wellness and Recovery in Los Lunas. Also, $750,000 was included in the general appropriations bill for operations of the program.

The Center is a multi-faceted program designed to be the state lead in treating persons from throughout New Mexico with the most severe disorders of addiction and mental illness, and those who have had frequent contact with the criminal justice system. The innovative program incorporates an emerging national trend to “treat not incarcerate”.

“Severe addictions and mental illness have caused devastating health, economic, educational, and social effects in communities throughout New Mexico. The Center is a positive and important step in breaking the cycle of substance abuse and subsequent criminal activities,” said Senator Sanchez. The Center currently provides out-patient substance abuse and mental health services to over 800 residents of Valencia County and that number is increasing by 90 new customers each month, according to Noel Clark, managing partner at the Center.

Clark noted, “Senator Sanchez’s effort will assist us in expanding this capacity to extend out-patient services to 125 new customers from throughout the state each month. The capital outlay funding will allow construction of a residential in-patient treatment facility for women and children. The new facility will give the unique opportunity for a mother to be with her children during her time in treatment. This treatment approach will help children bond or re-bond with their mother following a difficult time of family dysfunction due to substance abuse.” He added, “Senator Sanchez recognizes the negative impact substance abuse has on our communities and continues to champion efforts to attack this problem.”

Last year’s capital outlay bill included $5 million for the same project. However, a filibuster in the final hours of the legislative session effectively killed the bill and any chances for this project to begin. “It is unfortunate that this project had to wait a year,” said Senator Sanchez. “But we are pleased that phase two will soon move forward so that New Mexicans who are unable to get needed treatment in their own communities can be served by this facility.”

March 29, 2012 at 10:47 AM in Addiction, Drugs, Alcohol, NM Legislature 2012 | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

8/17: Rep. Ben Ray Lujan to Hold Summit on Substance Abuse in Espanola NM

On Tuesday, August 17, Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D, NM-03) will bring together elected officials, state health care and treatment providers, members of the community and law enforcement to discuss how to fight substance abuse and control drugs in the community.

The summit will take place from 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM in Espanola NM at the Carlos Vigil Middle School Auditorium located at 1260 Johnny Roybal Industrial Park Road. It will include a panel discussion followed by an open forum with community members. The public is encouraged to attend to listen to the discussion and then participate in the public forum segment. For more information, contact Rep. Lujan's office in Santa Fe at (505) 984-8950.

August 10, 2010 at 09:59 AM in Addiction, Drugs, Alcohol, Law Enforcement, Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03) | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Important Victory: Rep. Moe Maestas' Bill to Provide Treatment for Nonviolent Drug Offenders Passes House

Moemaestas120 Nonviolent drug offenders would have the opportunity to receive treatment rather than incarceration under legislation sponsored by Rep. Antonio “Moe” Maestas (D-Albuquerque). The legislation seeks to reduce repeat offenses by persons with substance abuse disorders by treating the condition of drug addiction rather than the act of drug possession. The measure, HB 178a, passed the House of Representatives today with a vote of 34-31.

"This bill will give judges the authority to focus on the treatment of nonviolent drug offenders as opposed to incarceration," Rep. Maestas said in a statement released today. "It would alleviate an already overburdened court system by focusing on the treatment of the nonviolent offender. This attempts to end recidivism and reduce drug addiction and hence, the property crimes it creates. Additionally, it has a potential of saving the state $22 million."

The bill was originally defeated in the House by a margin of 37-33 on Friday but -- thankfully -- gained new life when it was brought up for reconsideration today. Make no mistake about it. If this bill becomes law it would represent a major policy and very positive change in the "war on drugs" in New Mexico -- one that seeks to help non-violent offenders get a second chance in life if they earn it.

I think it's very important that we all thank Rep. Moe Maestas for this one. His views on dealing with the ramifications of drug abuse and addiction in a compassionate, productive and logical fashion are enlightened and practical. It takes guts to be out front on an issue like this -- one that's so fraught with myth and fear -- and I think Moe did it with an abundance of smarts and dedication. I think we should also express appreciation to everyone who vote for this bill. And it's essential that we contact our Senators to urge them to take the bill up and pass it, this year.

According to a statement released by House leadership, HB 178a creates a Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act to reduce the number of possession convictions by diverting misdemeanor and 4th degree felony offenders to treatment. It allows the courts to order an assessment of the person by a qualified treatment professional for the purpose of determining the person’s need for treatment and making recommendations for an appropriate treatment plan.

The court may, after a hearing and input from the state, refer the person to a substance abuse treatment program for a period of eighteen months or less. If the offender successfully completes the program, the court shall dismiss with prejudice the criminal proceedings against the person. The person may apply for an order sealing the record. The court may reinstate the criminal proceedings if the offender violates the terms and conditions of participation in the program.

The bill does not include drug traffickers.

According to the New Mexico Drug Policy Alliance, the state spent $22 million in 2007 to incarcerate or give probation sentences to nonviolent drug possession offenders.

February 16, 2010 at 08:57 PM in Addiction, Drugs, Alcohol, Justice, Law Enforcement, NM Legislature 2010 | Permalink | Comments (9)