In the News

Española: The town that tried everything to fight addiction

from the original article in the Santa Fe New Mexican, 08/16/2016

Fernando Espinoza has known dozens of people killed by addiction to drugs and other substances. An aunt. An uncle. A cousin. Too many friends and fellow inmates to count.

Espinoza, 32, has spent 14 consecutive birthdays in jail. When he’s out, he lives with his mother at her home in Española. He has two daughters, a GED degree and an addiction to heroin that feels like something scratching inside his brain.

Against steep odds in this dusty New Mexico town, he is still alive.

Here in Rio Arriba County, where 1 in 5 residents lives in poverty, people overdose and die more often than almost anywhere else in the country. Over the past five years, the county’s overdose rate was three times the statewide average, and more than five times the national rate. According to a 2013 survey of 969 Española teenagers, nearly 5 percent of high school students said they had used heroin within the last month, as opposed to 2.9 percent statewide.

Read More »


Healthy Transitions

from the original article in the Rio Grande Sun, 03/02/2017

A big obstacle preventing many of the Española Valley’s young people from getting addiction treatment is overcoming nerves and the thought of being seen at a drug treatment center, Alicia Martinez said.

Martinez, one of the newest employees at the Mountain Center location in Española, helps Healthy Transitions Program Manager Nikki Bustos teach an art class for high school students who seek treatment at the Center. Once the youth actually get to the Center and participate in the program, it’s easier for them to connect with the staff and each other, Martinez said.

The Mountain Center’s Healthy Transitions Program, for people ages 16 to 26, offers art therapy, hiking and life skills workshops, including family planning, financial literacy, resume building, cooking, healthy relationships and Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) issues.

“At first, kids are nervous about coming here, they see people on drugs at home and at school and they don’t know where to turn,” Martinez said. “The Center is a place for them to feel safe.”

Read full article in the Rio Grande Sun.


New Mexico deploys best practices to avoid the worst outcomes in the opioid crisis

Published by PBS NewsHour, 10/16/2017


In Sickness and in Health

Podcast featuring The Mountain Center's Phil Fluty, Harm Reduction Program Manager, in episode 5.

Listen to Podcast