April 6, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Donna Oracion, 575-624-7403

ENMU-ROSWELL INSTRUCTOR ATTENDS FORUM

WITH NATIONAL DRUG CZAR

Dr. Bob Phillips, Coordinator of Human Services and Addiction Studies at Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell, was invited to participate in a policy forum with Michael P. Botticelli,  director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), often referred to as the nation’s “Drug Czar.” The focus of the forum was to provide input on strategies to impact the nation’s epidemic of prescription opiate and heroin abuse. The meeting was held in Albuquerque on April 6.

In the U.S., more than 10,000 people died from heroin overdose in 2014, and nearly 20,000 fatally overdosed on prescription forms of opiates in the same year. Overall, fatal overdoses have tripled since 2010, and New Mexico has the highest rate of such deaths in the nation.

The invitation was extended to Phillips and a select group of New Mexico educators, policy makers, researchers, medical and behavioral health providers, law enforcement personnel, and persons in recovery from opiate dependence. Phillips is a strong advocate for expansions and access to evidence-based treatments for heroin and other opiate use disorders – particularly medication-assisted treatments, such as suboxone and recovery-oriented methadone maintenance. One very neglected area he hopes the director will consider is how to create greater access to housing. Phillips says that homelessness and evictions are both consequences and causes in the addiction cycle. Access to safe and affordable housing choices in recovery-friendly neighborhoods are among the strongest predictors of successful outcomes, according to Phillips.

For more information, contact Phillips at  bob.phillips@roswell.enmu.edu

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