National Recovery Month

Happy National Recovery Month! Every year, September is designated National Recovery Month to celebrate Recovery from Substance Use Disorder. This year’s theme is “Recovery is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community.” This is a reminder that we all do better when people with substance use disorder are supported in their recovery. The individual does better because substance use disorder is a disease with a lot of suffering and a high risk of death. The family does better because having a family member with SUD is very stressful, with worry about the affected person and possible erratic behavior, incarceration, or death. The community does better because people with untreated SUD can significantly affect the community negatively through drunk driving deaths and high medical costs, while people who are successfully treated often contribute at a high level through employment and support of others with SUD.

We at El Centro Family Health are proud to support our patients with substance use disorder through a variety of programs. These include the following:

1. Peer Support Specialists: A Peer Support Specialist is a person who has lived experience with substance use disorder. Because of this, people currently struggling with SUD are often much more willing to trust them. They have training in techniques such as motivational interviewing and running groups such as Seeking Safety. They also have knowledge of local resources, such as housing, transportation, and medical care. They can help people get into higher levels of care if needed. In addition, they are a great source of support and someone readily available to listen if needed.

2. Behavioral Health: Counseling is an integral part of treatment for substance use disorder. Many people with SUD have a history of significant trauma. People with SUD often have not learned basic life skills, such as how to organize their day and how to hold down a job. Many people with SUD are self-medicating psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety or depression. Substance use disorder can also cause significant dysfunction in relationships. Therapy can help greatly with all of these.

3. Medical treatment: El Centro has worked hard to train our clinicians to use medication to treat opioid use disorder. The medication used is buprenorphine, usually combined with naloxone, which has a very good success rate for treatment of opioid use disorder. We also prescribe medications to treat alcohol use disorder and work with patients with other substance use disorders. In addition, we provide treatment for many of the common sequelae of substance use disorder, including Hepatitis C, alcoholic liver disease, and abscesses.

4. Pregnancy care: Pregnancy is a critical time for any patient with substance use disorder. Both men and women are often highly motivated to get treatment when they are expecting a child. In addition, because substance use disorder can have a devastating effect on the growing baby, it is essential to get pregnant patients in for treatment. We are proud to provide care to this group of patients.

5. Prevention: We offer Narcan to reverse overdoses. We also offer programs in the schools to try to support students to avoid substance use disorder to begin with. In addition, we have youth peer health education at our school-based health centers.

At ECFH, we work hard to support the person, the family, and the community in all that we do. In September, we are especially proud of our work to do so around substance use disorder.

El Centro Family Health Integrated Substance Use Disorder Committee



‘Public servants,’ community need to do better

I feel competlled to reply to the editorial in your paper of (Sept. 8) by Mr. M.H. Allen. Mr. Friedrich Mietzsche some years ago wrote - paraphrased - that the voter deserves the government, good or bad, that he votes into office. 

I find that observation hard to argue with. I don’t feel very proud of the vast majority of our “public servants” but I don’t feel very proud of myself either for not doing more to change for the better. Those that make a comfortable home for themselves in public office. 

Frank Davis



Unhappy with Plaza outdoor dining

I would like to ask mayor and council members, how can you shut down a portion of the road around the Plaza so that the Plaza Hotel can use for it for outdoor dining? This should never have happened and needs to be stopped. Is this even legal to do, does it violate the anti-donation clause of the New Mexico Constitution? I don’t think it is right for the city to allow any private business to profit from city owned property that city residents have paid taxes for maintenance of that road. I also believe this poses a safety hazard for emergency responders. Our elected officials need to stop doing favors and govern.

James Chavez

Las Vegas

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