Drug Overdose Deaths Decline in New Mexico

After having one of the nation’s highest drug overdose death rates for years,

from second on the list to eighth-worst.

State health officials have credited New Mexico's drop to the growing availability of naloxone – a drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose – and tighter federal regulation of hydrocodone, a widely prescribed narcotic painkiller.



The state's overdose deaths decreased by more than 8 percent in 2015, falling from a record-high 547 deaths in 2014 to 501 last year, according to CDC data.



The rate of overdose deaths dropped to 25.3 per 100,000 population in 2015, down from 27.3 per 100,000 in 2014.

The Number of People Seeking Custody of Abused Children Jumps

Phaedra Haywood reports, “The number of Northern New Mexico residents seeking custody of abused and neglected children born to relatives had been growing steadily over the past decade, but that

in the last two years."

People who work in the state's family courts system say substance abuse — primarily opiate addiction — is to blame for the more than 70 percent increase in kinship guardianship cases between 2014 and 2016. Unless the epidemic is addressed, they say, generations of the region's children will continue to suffer.

Shoppers Object to "Racist" Signs

Signs at a convenience store in Mayhill, near Cloudcroft, New Mexico, are

. Some locals call them sick and racist while others says they’re protected by free speech rights. KOB showed a sign stating that Muslims and President Barack Obama are not welcome.

Legalizing Pot Could Generate Millions for New Mexico

A growing number of state lawmakers are looking at legalizing cannabis to

revenue to offset state budget shortages when they return to the Roundhouse next month.

Sonntag Threatens Defamation Lawsuit

Carla Sonntag, the president and founder of the New Mexico Business Coalition, says she’ll sue the state Republican Party for defamation if it does not

it made accusing her of sending anonymous attack emails to party activists by today.

The emails in question targeted several Republicans, including Republican National Committeeman Harvey Yates Jr. and Ryan Cangiolosi, who was elected on Dec. 11 as state party chairman.



In an email sent to Republican Party state Central Committee members before Cangiolosi's election, state GOP officials described the emails as "slanderous attacks on the character and integrity of several individuals in the Republican community."

New Year's Eve Celebrations Don't Have to Break the Bank

WalletHub

of the most fun and affordable spots for counting down to 2017, analyzing 100 cities using criteria such as the average price of a New Year's Eve party ticket and a bottle of wine, to the crime rate and probability of rain. Albuquerque was ranked 49th most affordable.

Over three-quarters of Americans mark the occasion in some way and about 83 percent of those who do said they plan to spend less than $200 on the evening's activities, according to a report by personal finance website WalletHub. Adding in party clothes and peak Uber pricing, ringing in the new year can cost a lot more if you're not careful.

New Year's Eve Hot Spots

If you’re still looking for something to do tomorrow night at midnight, check out See the Southwest's New Mexico

and SFR's list of Santa Fe happenings

.

SFR's Photo Contest Launches

After the champagne corks pop,

. SFR’s annual photo contest starts on January 1, 2017. Entries are only $5 and you could win $100 from The Camera Shop and see your photo published in the 2017 Santa Fe Manual.