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Harm Reduction Case Study: Bernalillo County, New Mexico

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2020
3 pages

This document provides an overview of Bernalillo County in central New Mexico, providing information about the county’s harm reduction activities and outcomes.


This case study looks at Bernalillo County, which has had the largest number of total drug overdose deaths in the state of New Mexico, whose total drug overdose death rate has been one of the highest in the nation for nearly 20 years. Rising drug use and other developments, such as the U.S. Department of Justice’s settlement agreement to reform the Albuquerque Police Department (APD), has served as a catalyst for action and collaboration. As a result, Bernalillo County has resolved to collaborate in reducing opioid use and the number of overdose-related fatalities. Some harm reduction activities undertaken by the Bernalillo County Department of Behavioral Health Services (DBHS), funded by the Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program (COSSAP), include efforts to reduce drug use and overdose deaths and to mitigate impacts on crime victims. The case study provides insights into those efforts and the benefits of community partnerships; and it notes that the greatest challenge to DBHS staff members has been navigating the county, city, and state government systems. The case study includes endnotes with links as well as contact information for more information on the county’s efforts.