New Mexico awarded $3.5M to help fight opioid crisis

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Efforts to combat drugs and crime in New Mexico will get a boost from the federal government.

The U.S. Justice Department announced late last week that more than $3.8 million is being awarded to state courts as well as county and tribal programs in New Mexico.

Officials say the grants will help law enforcement officers, emergency responders and treatment professionals coordinate their response to overdoses. The funds also will provide services for children and youth affected by the crisis and will strengthen adult drug court and veterans treatment court programs.

With more than 130 people dying from opioid-related overdoses every day, the Justice Department says fighting opioid addiction has become a national priority. In all, more than $333 million in grants are being awarded to communities around the nation.

Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Katharine Sullivan, with the agency's Office of Justice Programs, described it as an unprecedented and extremely challenging time.

“The opioid crisis has destroyed far too many lives and left too many Americans feeling helpless and hopeless,” Sullivan said. “This epidemic — the most deadly in our nation’s history — is introducing new dangers and loading public health responsibilities onto the public safety duties of our law enforcement officers."