54th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2020


Joseph L. Sanchez









     WHEREAS, alcohol use disorder is one of New Mexico's most pressing problems in terms of cost, morbidity and mortality; and

     WHEREAS, alcohol use disorder affects every socioeconomic group, and ultimately every member of the families of those suffering from alcohol use disorder, for many reasons; and

     WHEREAS, a 2019 legislative finance committee hearing brief on expanding community-based behavioral health services noted that New Mexico's alcohol-related death rate has been nearly twice the national average for two decades and has ranked first, second or third worst since 1981; and

     WHEREAS, the leading causes of alcohol-related chronic disease mortality include chronic liver disease, alcohol dependence and abuse, hypertension and stroke; and

     WHEREAS, addiction neuroscience has changed significantly in the last two decades, as have views about addiction in general; and

     WHEREAS, society and medical personnel have moved away from treating addiction as a moral failing and toward a treatment model that incorporates genetics, sociology and physiology as causal and remedial factors; and

     WHEREAS, there is also movement away from using the term "alcoholic" toward "alcohol use disorder" to better reflect the spectrum of alcohol use disorders and to move away from the stigma of alcoholic as a classification; and

     WHEREAS, although stigma persists, the moral model of addiction has been supplemented by extensive research suggesting that substance use disorder is better viewed as a deadly but treatable chronic illness, not unlike diabetes or asthma; and

     WHEREAS, the actual effectiveness of rehabilitation and programs such as alcoholics anonymous are unknown; and 

     WHEREAS, by their very design, narcotics anonymous and alcoholics anonymous do not keep statistics, while rehabilitation centers are not mandated to keep statistics; and

     WHEREAS, Lance Dodes, a retired psychiatry professor from Harvard medical school, looked at alcoholics anonymous's retention rates and put alcoholics anonymous's actual success rate somewhere between five and eight percent; and

     WHEREAS, while alcoholics anonymous works extremely well for a certain number of participants, a larger number do not benefit from the structure or intent of the program, which is faith-based; and

     WHEREAS, there are numerous opioid antagonist drugs approved by the federal drug administration that are gentle, relatively safe and significantly effective in the treatment of alcohol use disorder; and

     WHEREAS, these drugs can be prescribed by any practicing physician without additional certifications or regulatory impediments; and

     WHEREAS, in addition, these drugs are available in generic versions, are widely available for minimal cost and boast a high success rate for what can be termed a "cure", or long-term remission; and

     WHEREAS, there are also specific treatments, widely known as the Sinclair method, named after American neuroscientist David Sinclair, that involve a reversal of the damage that occurs to normal brain pathways that mediate pleasure and self-control; and

     WHEREAS, Finnish clinics using the Sinclair method have found that it is effective in seventy-eight percent of patients, while clinics using the method in Florida report eighty-five percent efficacy, according to Roy Eskapa, Ph.D., the author of The Cure for Alcoholism: The Medically Proven Way to Eliminate Alcohol Addiction; and

     WHEREAS, alternative treatments that aim to help patients learn to drink in moderation have been verified and vetted by the larger scientific and medical community; and

     WHEREAS, very few physicians are aware that there are multiple safe and gentle medications available for the treatment of alcohol use disorder; and

     WHEREAS, wider knowledge of alternative treatments for alcohol use disorder could provide a different pathway for those who suffer from this devastating disease;

     NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO that primary care physicians, licensed clinical social workers and other health care providers be urged to become aware of potential drugs for successfully treating alcohol use disorder; and

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this memorial be transmitted to the secretary of health.

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