ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Entities across Bernalillo County, from law enforcement, the judicial system, and local healthcare providers, are coming together Thursday in Albuquerque to help educate New Mexicans about fentanyl, and kick off a months-long awareness campaign about the deadly drug.
The county branded the summit “Keep NM Alive.”
“We’ve determined that fentanyl was more than people are realizing and it’s time to try and get some information out there and get a handle on this,” said Tom Thorpe, communications coordinator for Bernalillo County. “It affects everyone and we want to touch every part of it. If you don’t know anything about it, what it looks like, where it comes from, how do I know if my kids or my neighbors or anyone else might be using it? Everything.”
Leaders within the Albuquerque Police Department say they’ve seen the drug dominate crime scenes and homicide investigations for quite a while.
“One of our bigger increasing categories for homicides is robbery murders,” said APD Deputy Commander Kyle Hartstock. “And the thing they’re trying to rob, it isn’t cash from the drawer. It is the drugs in their hand or the money in their hand from the sale of drugs. It’s the drug that’s most aggressively spiking up in terms of usage by our community members but also we see it leading to violent crimes, we see it leading to overdose deaths.”
Hartstock will take those types of facts to Thursday’s summit. Leaders’ hope is people walk away more educated, and are able to talk to others about the drug, especially kids.
“It’s a very difficult thing,” said Thorpe. “And we want them to learn. We want them to ask and understand. The help is there all they have to ask and that’s what we want– start the conversation.”
The county will also have a resource room, stocked with Narcan, test strips, and counselors on site to speak with people directly.
If you’re not signed up to attend in person, the county will stream it on their website, and post a recorded version on its YouTube page.