State Agency Press Release – From the New Mexico Department of Health

SANTA FE — April is national Alcohol Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness and understanding of alcohol abuse. Over time, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious issues that affect your quality of life, both physically and mentally. 

Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham approved $2 million for the New Mexico Department of Health (NMHealth) to create the Office of Alcohol Misuse Prevention (OAMP) in her 2023 budget. This initiative aims to mitigate alcohol related harms through the coordination of prevention efforts across state agencies. It will promote FDA-approved treatments for alcohol use disorder, such as Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) in medical settings and evaluations of existing programs and interventions. Additionally, the OAMP will support communities and sovereignties (Tribes, Pueblos, and Nations) in their efforts to reduce excessive alcohol consumption by funding evidence-based prevention strategies. 

“As a state, we must address the root causes of alcohol-related deaths and prioritize prevention efforts to reverse this troubling trend,” said NMHealth Secretary Patrick Allen. “The toll of alcohol misuse extends beyond the individual—it impacts families, workplaces, and communities. It’s time to take action.” 

If you or someone you care about is struggling with alcohol misuse please speak to your primary care provider and explore these resources: 

  • Try this 5-minute screening tool to learn about how alcohol affects your health. 
  • Download the free Connections App if you’re trying to cut down or quit drinking.   
  • If you or someone you love thinks they may have a drinking problem, you can get support by calling this toll-free, confidential alcohol hotline at (313)-209-9574 or 988 for crisis support. 
  • If you need help finding a provider, please call the NMHealth Helpline at 1-833-SWNURSE (1-833-796-8773) 

In New Mexico, the age-adjusted rate of alcohol-related deaths increased every year between 2017 and 2021, rising from 70 deaths per 100,000 persons to 102.8 deaths per 100,000 persons. Unfortunately, there have been more than 2,000 alcohol-related deaths in New Mexico each year since 2020. 

Statewide, in 2022, 40% of all deaths in McKinley County were alcohol related. In Bernalillo County, 20.4% of all deaths were alcohol related, and 19% of all deaths in San Miguel County were alcohol related. In 2022, Hispanics accounted for 40% of the deaths, followed by Whites, and American Indian/Alaska Natives. Among men, alcohol-related deaths were highest among those between the ages of 55-64 (304 deaths). Among women, those between the ages of 35-44 had the highest number of deaths (270 deaths). Among men, the number of deaths increased with age. There was an almost 285% increase in the number of deaths when comparing those aged 15-24 with those aged 55-64.