ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The state is trying to reach teens with drug and alcohol problems before they overdose or turn into criminals.
A first of its kind treatment center for teens is now open in Albuquerque.
"This is the first of it's kind to serve adolescences in the state...so adolescences before would have to go out of state to receive those services," Katrina Hotrum, Bernalillo County Director of Substance Abuse, said.
New Mexico's Department of Health announced Monday that its Turquoise Lodge Hospital, located at Bernalillo County's Metro Assessment and Treatment Services Center, will start offering help to teens struggling with drug and alcohol programs.
"Bed facility, 10 male, 10 female beds so we'll provide services right here on this unit," Hotrum said.
Teen's ages 14 through 18 will get here through referrals.
"This is important because we so desperately have an addiction problem with our youths," Hotrum said. "We know that by time they get to adult hood sometimes it's too late. When we see them on the adult side for detox sometimes they've been using for 10-12 years."
For one mom, whose teen son died after an overdose in 2011, she says it's great to see the state finally has a place to send kids for help.
"I remember the first night making calls looking for help for my son and he was under the age of 18 and there just wasn't anywhere to take him," Lou Duran said.
The $2 million expansion was funded through the state's general fund.
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