Background: New Mexico has consistently high rates of drug-induced deaths, and opioid-related treatment admissions have been increasing over the last two decades. Youth in New Mexico are at particular risk: they report higher rates of nonmedical prescription opioid use than those over age 25, are more likely than their national counterparts to have tried heroin, and represent an increasing proportion of heroin overdoses. Methods: Commissioned by the City of Albuquerque, semistructured interviews were conducted from April to June of 2011 with 24 substance use treatment agencies and eight key stakeholders in Albuquerque to identify recent changes in the treatment-seeking population and gaps in treatment availability. Themes were derived using template analysis and data were analyzed using NVivo 9 software. Results: Respondents reported a noticeable increase in youth seeking treatment for opioid use and a general increase in nonmedical prescription opioid use. Most noted difficulties with finding buprenorphine providers and a lack of youth services. Additionally, stigma, limited interagency communication and referral, barriers to prescribing buprenorphine, and a lack of funding were noted as preventing opioid users from quickly accessing effective treatment. Conclusions: Recommendations for addressing these issues include developing youth-specific treatment programs, raising awareness about opioid use among youth, increasing the availability of buprenorphine through provider incentives and education, developing a resource guide for individuals seeking treatment in Albuquerque, and prioritizing interagency communication and referrals.
- Needs assessment
- New Mexico