What is Southwest Pathways?
at the Public Health SW Region Office in Las Cruces, began as an Access to Recovery (ATR) Project funded by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) in 2004. For approximately two years, Southwest Pathways functioned as the Central Intake Unit (CIU) performing assessment and referrals for persons needing outpatient substance abuse treatment in network of area private providers via a voucher-based payment system.
Southwest Pathways is a multi-disciplinary unit in the Public Health Division SW Region (PHD/SWR) comprised of several behavioral health specialists, including a licensed counselor, registered nurse, caseworker and two nurse practitioners (click here to see more about the staff). Two Public Health Physicians also are part of the team for substance use disorders (SUDs), which has been providing medication assisted treatment with buprenorphine (MAT-B) since July 2007. This team focuses on mental health and substance abuse issues common to different patient and client groups accessing public health services. For example, patients referred to these professionals may be females with post-partum depression in the WIC Clinic, the Family Planning patient suffering from domestic violence, the STD patient with hazardous drinking habits, the TB or HIV patient with co-morbid conditions interfering with medication compliance, hepatitis C or diabetes patients with depression, and inmates with chemical dependency just released from the county jail. Besides providing direct services in a safety-net to such persons who are uninsured or have low income, these staff members and others work multi-level and multi-sector community approaches in coalitions, councils, and consortia to enhance access to and continuity of care for persons with chronic behavioral health challenges.
A key principle of Southwest Pathways is to programmatically bridge the gaps among infectious and chronic diseases/conditions and behavioral disorders by creating a “harm reduction friendly” organization.The foundation for this public health model is harm reduction for prevention and interventions with at-risk persons using drugs and telehealth with Project ECHO from the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNMHSC) to bring the expertise of academic medicine to southern New Mexico.
Opioid Dependence Survey Fact Sheet Jun13
PBS Sheff Addiction Myths Apr13
Top 10 myths about drug addiction
ASAM Addiction Definition
Harm Reduction Organization Checklist HIVCode
HARM REDUCTION PROGRAM
What is Harm Reduction?
Harm reduction is a philosophy of public health intended to be a progressive alternative to the prohibition of certain lifestyle choices. The central idea of Harm Reduction is the recognition that some people always have and always will engage in behaviors which carry risks, such as casual sex and drug use and recognizing this, efforts are made to minimize the negative health impacts of those behaviors on individuals, families and communities.
Harm reduction initiatives range from widely accepted designated driver campaigns, to more controversial initiatives like the provision of condoms in schools, needle exchange programs and methadone maintenance programs. The main objective of harm reduction is to mitigate the potential dangers and health risks associated with the behaviors themselves. New Mexico is taking the philosophy of Harm Reduction a step further by including diabetes syringe exchange in its program in some health offices.
Medical Cannabis is not considered part of the Harm Reduction Program.
Click on link here to find out more about this specific program with the New Mexico Department of Health.
Australia’s Harm Reduction Pyramid
Reducing Harm: Treatment and Beyond
CAMH Addiction 101 Series: Harm Reduction Tutorial
National Health Care for the Homeless Council: Online HR Training
Syringe Exchange Program
Syringe Exchange is a program provided by the New Mexico Department of Health in which clean needles and syringes are given out and exchanged after being used to administer intravenous drugs or diabetic medication. The New Mexico Harm Reduction Act was passed in 1997 to reduce the spread of diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C that are transmitted through blood, often by the reuse of needles and/or syringes.
Studies have shown that syringe exchange programs can reduce the transmission of HIV and other bloodborne diseases in people who inject drugs. Syringe exchange sites also provide health information; referrals to social, human, mental health, and substance abuse treatment services; HIV and hepatitis A/B/C testing; and hepatitis A and B vaccines. There is no charge to enroll in this program.
Syringes are usually given out ten at a time and can be exchanged for clean (sterile) ones as often as necessary, usually on a one-to-one basis. Arrangements can also be made for a community representative to exchange multiple-user needles/syringes for clean, sterile ones. Syringe Exchange users can enroll in the program anonymously, and testing, such as for HIV and Hepatitis C, can be done anonymously. Free condoms are also available. Some sites offer physical examinations for enrolled clients along with clinical care for abscesses and other conditions related to injecting drugs.
Most Public Health offices throughout Region 5 now offer the Syringe Exchange Program (SEP) services. Interested persons should call their local office in advance to check for open clinic dates and times and staff availability. Walk-ins are usually accepted, but waiting times may vary if you do not have an appointment. The Public Health Southwest Region provides SEP service in outreach settings, such as mobile and free clinics, homeless shelters, and when persons are released from county jails or detention centers.
Syringes can be bought at retail pharmacies in New Mexico without a prescription. If you experience problems with this purchase, please advise our program staff at 575-528-6008.
Most Public Health offices now have syringe disposal boxes located outside building entrances. These boxes, about the size of mail boxes, can be used by anyone to safely deposit used syringes and needles to protect the general public and sanitation workers from accidental needle sticks. The boxes accept containers of used needles up to the liter or quart size.
CATIE Safer Injecting
Exchange Supplies Safer Injecting
Safe Prescription Drug Disposal
Narcan (naloxone) is a specific opioid antagonist drug that rapidly reverses the effects of opiate drugs, including heroin. Naloxone is often life-saving in heroin overdose, but it should be viewed as one of several tools and skills that can prevent heroin (opioid) overdose death.
This New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) policy establishes guidelines for the dispensing of intranasal Narcan through NMDOH Public Health Offices (PHO) and contracted providers in order to reduce fatal opioid overdose. The primary reason for establishing an Opioid Antagonist Administration Program by trained targeted responders is to improve response to drug overdose, which may prevent unnecessary loss of life. While opioid antagonist administration does not automatically guarantee to reverse the effects of overdose due to substance abuse, it is the only definitive care currently available for reversing the effects of opioid substances.
Opiate users who have participated in Department-sanctioned overdose prevention and treatment education programs are eligible to receive naloxone from Department personnel.In January 2012 the Public Health Division protocol for harm reduction was revised to allow Public Health Nurses to dispense Narcan according to standing delegation orders in order to improve access to this life-saving medication in more areas of the State.
NYS HIV Clinical Education Initiative Training: Overdose Prevention:
The Role of Naloxone in the Community
NC Project Lazarus Narcan Video Links
Reach for Me Video
Opiate Replacement Therapy (ORT)
Opioid addiction can be to many substances, such as heroin, codeine, hydrocodone and oxycodone. Prior to the introduction of office-based Opiate Replacement Therapy, the only available treatment for opioid addiction was with Methadone, available only at federally licensed and regulated clinics. With the introduction of Buprenorphine (link to YouTube video), a safer alternative to Methadone, treatment options have increased.
Buprenorphine can be administered from any physician’s office, once the physician has taken a one-day Buprenorphine training course, and has received DEA waived recognition of that training. Similar to Methadone, Buprenorphine reduces the cravings for opioids but significantly reduces the potential for abuse and overdose. By allowing any trained physician to prescribe Buprenorphine, opportunities for opioid treatment have potentially expanded from the few Methadone Clinics in the state, to any physician’s practice.
The Las Cruces Public Health Resource Center offers Opiate Replacement Therapy (buprenorphine, Suboxone) for persons that meet financial and clinical requirements for eligibility. SW Region staff participate in weekly Project ECHO sessions for the Substance Use Disorder Clinic.
For additional information on ORT, please click here.
SMART Recovery® (Self-Management And Recovery Training)
A SW Region behavioral health clinician has completed the Facilitator training for leaders of SMART meetings. SMART stands for Self-Management And Recovery Training, which enables professionals to lead self-help groups to assist people to gain independence from addictive behaviors according to evidence-based best practices. The SMART Program is often used to augment 12-step recovery programs or as an alternative to these groups. It helps people recover from all types of addictive behaviors, including: alcoholism, drug abuse, gambling addiction, food addictions, and addiction to other activities. For additional information, please visit the Internet at http://www.smartrecovery.org.
Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for Alcohol Use Disorders (AUDs)
Southwest Pathways now offers pharmacotherapy (medications) and psychotherapy (“talk therapy”) for persons who want to abstain from the consumption of alcohol or gain more control over their drinking habits. Patients may enter the program regardless of their income, insurance, or language status, but patients must pay for medications related to substance abuse or mental illness. Oral naltrexone is less than $100 per month while a monthly injection of naltrexone is $800-900. Individual therapy sessions and group support meetings and classes are available on site at no cost.
NCADD Consumer Guide To Medication Assisted Treatment Oct.'11
Please take a moment to view the video in the following link. Dr. Leslie Hayes of Española, who has been participating in the Project ECHO Integrated Addictions and Psychiatry Clinic since its inception, was recognized for her contributions to addictions care by the Responsibility Project, an effort supported by Liberty Mutual Insurance, The Atlantic Monthly, NBC, Slate Magazine and Beliefnet. It is an inspiring recognition of the exemplary work that all of the partners do in Project ECHO’s IAP Clinic.
From this link, click on the video, "The Caring Doctor" to view the profile of Dr. Hayes.
Stanton Peele’s Video on Harm Reduction
Alan Marlatt’s Video on Harm Reduction
Alberta Addicts WEAR: Video Bevel Up – Drugs, Users, & Outreach Nursing
HBO Addiction Series
Drugs Inc on National Geographic
Substance Abuse Links and Downloads