Bill to Allow Substance Abuse Treatment to be Covered under Medicaid to be Heard by New Mexico Senate Committee

Press Release January 31, 2007
Media Contact

Reena Szczepanski at (505) 699-0798 or Julie Roberts at (505)983-3277

Santa Fe– A bill designed to allow substance abuse treatment to be covered under Medicaid will be heard before the Senate Public Affairs Committee on Friday, February 2. The bill, the “Addiction Recovery Act” (SB 271), proposes to have a range of substance abuse treatment services, including detoxification, outpatient services, counseling, medication-assisted therapy and aftercare covered by the health insurance program.

SB 271 is sponsored by Sen. Bernadette Sanchez, D-District 26, and has 11 co-sponsors. New Mexico ranked second in the nation for the rate of persons aged 12 or older who need, but do not receive, treatment for illicit drug use.

“The most common reason that people cite for not receiving substance abuse treatment is cost,” said Reena Szczepanski, director of the Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico. “New Mexico should help eliminate this financial barrier so people can receive the treatment they need.”

Thirty-five other states cover substance abuse treatment under Medicaid. Until 1998, New Mexico Medicaid covered a wider range of substance abuse treatment services. Medicaid currently covers 12 outpatient sessions for people who abuse alcohol, and some treatment services for youth. The Governor’s Interagency Substance Abuse Task Force recommended in 2005 that the use of Medicaid funding for substance abuse-related treatment services should be enhanced.

Please call Reena Szczepanski at 505-669-0798 or Julie Roberts 505-983-3277 for the latest information on committee hearings.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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