Cenikor Discusses Removing Treatment Barriers During Visit with Congresswoman Leger Fernández

Cenikor Discusses Removing Treatment Barriers During Visit with Congresswoman Leger Fernández

Farmington, NM, April 21 – Last week, Cenikor hosted Congresswoman Leger Fernández at its Farmington treatment center. After a tour of the facility, the Congresswoman sat down with Cenikor’s experts to further conversations around removing barriers to treatment and recovery that many New Mexico residents face.

“New Mexico has been one of the states hit the hardest by substance abuse and the overdose crisis,” remarked Bill Bailey, President and CEO of Cenikor. “Fewer than one in 10 Americans who need treatment can access it. We appreciate Congresswoman Leger Fernández’s continued support, and we are looking forward to providing high-quality care to more of the population.”

Unintentional drug overdoses accounted for almost 86 percent of drug overdose deaths from 2015 to 2019 in New Mexico, according to the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH). Forty-five percent of those accidental overdoses were caused by prescription opioids, and 33 percent by heroin. The Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act, which Cenikor’s Regional Medical Director, Dr. Eric Ketcham, played a key role in getting passed and signed in late December 2022, was a pivotal moment in helping those suffering from substance use disorder. The MAT Act removes federal barriers to medications for opioid use disorder (OUD), reduces stigma, and increases access to life-saving treatment that prevents overdoses and supports recovery.

However, more needs to be done. “There’s a statewide shortage of buprenorphine, recognized as the gold standard of care in medication-assisted treatment,” said Jolene Schneider, Facility Director for Cenikor’s Farmington location. “We typically have to call three or four pharmacies to fill a 30-day prescription. Some pharmacies simply do not carry the drug, and others are concerned about being reported to the Drug Enforcement Administration for a ‘suspicious’ order of a controlled substance.”

Cenikor’s facilities across Texas and New Mexico offer medication-assisted treatment to clients. This evidence-based treatment of addiction from alcohol, opioids, benzodiazepines, stimulants, and other substances combines medications with behavioral therapy, psychosocial supports, and other wraparound services, leading to the best outcomes.

Access to withdrawal medications is a similar issue that Cenikor hopes to tackle with Congresswoman Leger Fernández. “The New Mexico Board of Pharmacy does not allow drug and alcohol treatment centers like ours to stock medications for detox such as Ativan or Phenobarbital,” said Schneider. “Each patient must have an individual prescription filled upon admittance. With pharmacies open Monday through Friday until 7 p.m., patients who arrive after that time or on weekends may have to be routed to the emergency room, which places more demand on an overutilized resource.”

Cenikor opened its doors to the Farmington, New Mexico community in May 2022 with the acquisition of Four Winds Recovery Center. With the help of elected officials like Congresswoman Leger Fernàndez, Cenikor hopes to break through barriers and continue expanding treatment programs to the Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah populations.

Cenikor is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that offers an array of successful rehabilitation programs, tailored to treat people who want to be free from substance use. Since its inception in 1967, Cenikor has been dedicated to helping those in need. Cenikor continues to evolve to offer supportive services to veterans, adults, and adolescents in several cities across Texas, and neighboring states. More than 300,000 lives have been changed in the process.

For more information about this news release, please contact Maddie Profilet, Director of Marketing and Media Relations via email at media@cenikor.org. If you or someone you know is seeking treatment for substance use disorder, call Cenikor today at 1-888-236-4567.

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