Two Public Health Bills Pass Out of Senate Public Affairs Committee

Press Release February 5, 2007
Media Contact

Reena Szczepanski at (505) 699-0798 or Tommy McDonald at (505) 983-3277

Two public health bills that promote evidence-based, compassionate policies in New Mexico passed the Senate Public Affairs Committee recently.

SB 271 calls for Medicaid coverage of certain substance abuse treatment services. The committee substitute for the “Addiction Recovery Act” unanimously passed in the Senate Public Affairs Committee on Tuesday, February 6. The substitute bill replaced the original in order to include language approved by the Human Services Department.

“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.”

SB 271 was well received and praised by committee members. Senator Mary Jane Garcia, D-District 36, emphasized the importance of supporting the expansion of substance abuse treatment services, “Many of us in caucus made substance abuse treatment one of our priorities.” Senator David Ulibarri, D-District 30, echoed Senator Garcia’s support of the bill, “This is a very good bill that is in line with our goal to start addressing these kinds of problems.”

The second bill, SB 200, addresses the overwhelming rates of drug-related overdoses in New Mexico by encouraging people to call 911 in the event of an overdose. 911 Good Samaritan legislation unanimously passed the Senate Public Affairs Committee on Thursday, 2/1. The bill provides limited immunity from drug possession charges when a witness or victim of a drug-related overdose calls emergency services for help.

“New Mexico is already seen as a national model on how a state can employ public health measures to consistently reduce drug overdoses and save lives,” said Szczepanski. “We can continue to set the standard for the country by establishing a strategy that promotes treatment, education and compassion.”

SB 271 will now head to the Senate Finance Committee and SB 200 will be heard by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, February 7. The Judiciary Committee will convene at 1:30 p.m. in Room 321

Please call Reena Szczepanski at 505-699-0798 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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