SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – East of Santa Fe, San Miguel County is among the top counties in the state for substance use disorder issues in New Mexico. Now, legislators are hoping to help address substance use in the mostly rural area, stretching from near Clines Corners to near Tucumcari,

House Bill 29, sponsored by Rep. Miguel P. García (D-Abq.), would put $1.3 million towards a treatment center in Las Vegas, New Mexico. Tuesday, February 28, the bill went to a vote on the House floor.

The funds for the project, which come from the settlements paid to the state by drug companies (i.e., opioid settlement funds), would complete the total funding needed for the project, Rep. García told fellow legislators. “The treatment center will serve an opioid patient population in the seven-county area of northern and northeast New Mexico,” García added.

Substance abuse is an issue across New Mexico, but San Miguel is particularly hard hit and has limited resources. Currently, only one hospital in the county provides integrated treatment for substance use disorder, the New Mexico Department of Health notes in an analysis. And there are only about four to seven behavioral health providers in the county to serve over 27,000 residents.

Without any debate, the bill received unanimous approval and passed the House. But for the treatment center to become a reality, the idea still has to pass through the Senate and receive the Governor’s signature.