April 29, 2016

Lujan Urges New Mexico Communities to Participate in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

Recognizes Española Doctor Named ‘White House Champion of Change’ for Work Combating Substance Abuse

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District highlighted today the upcoming National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and encouraged New Mexicans to dispose of unused, expired, and unneeded prescription drugs.  On Saturday, April 30, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Drug Enforcement Administration is joining with local partners to set up drop-off locations across New Mexico and the country to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs.

“New Mexico and our nation are facing an opioid epidemic that is tearing at the fabric of our communities.  We’ve seen too many robbed of a brighter future and lost too many loved ones at the hands of substance abuse,” Congressman Luján said.  “Addressing this crisis that has spanned generations will require innovative solutions, increased resources and each one of us doing our part.  We all have a role to play by ensuring the safe disposal of prescription drugs so they do not fall into the wrong hands.  Prescription medication is no less dangerous than illicit drugs because it is prescribed by a doctor; and whether it is accidental overdose, suicide, or the crimes that result from people becoming dependent on prescription drugs, failing to properly dispose of these poses a danger to our communities.”

Drop-off locations around New Mexico, which can be found here or by calling 1-800-882-9539, will collect prescription drugs between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday.  During the last drug take back day more than 350 tons of drugs were collected nationwide.

Luján also congratulated Dr. Leslie Hayes of El Centro Family Health in Española who is one of ten individuals from around the country that will be honored as a “White House Champion of Change” today for leadership in preventing substance abuse and heroin use, increasing access to treatment, and supporting the millions of Americans in recovery.  Dr. Hayes was selected from more than 900 nominations for her work with pregnant women and new mothers who have substance abuse disorders.

“Congratulations to Dr. Hayes for this tremendous honor, and I thank her for her tireless efforts to support women and their children who are trying to overcome addiction,” Luján said.  “Her work and the work of so many dedicated individuals in New Mexico is critical to our efforts to stem the tide of the drug crisis and help repair the damage that substance abuse has caused in our communities.  I am proud to support their efforts and am committed to fighting for increased resources that will help them do their important work.”

Congressman Luján is leading efforts in the House of Representatives to address the growing drug crisis.  He has introduced legislation to help pregnant and women with small children who struggle with addiction, and in a recent Energy and Commerce Committee markup he offered an amendment to provide $1 billion in funding to combat substance abuse.  While the amendment was blocked by Republicans during the markup, Luján is working to turn the amendment into a stand-alone bill that reflects President Obama’s budget request to fund a robust effort to address the opioid epidemic.

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