Raúl Torrez | Attorney General

Opioid Settlement

Opioid Facts

  • Since 2008, New Mexico has had one of the highest rates of drug overdose death in the United States.
  • Between 2008-2012, almost every county in New Mexico had a higher drug overdose death rate than the rate for the entire United States.
  • In some New Mexico counties, the overdose death rates were more than five times the national rate.
  • According to CDC, New Mexico had the third highest drug overdose death rate in the nation in 2013, the second highest in 2014, and remained in the highest age-adjusted rate category in the nation in 2015.
  • The New Mexico Department of Health estimates that in 2007 alone prescription opioid abuse, and misuse cost New Mexico $890 million, taking into account costs such as excess medical and prescription costs, lost earnings from premature deaths, and the costs of correctional facility and police services.

State of NM v. Purdue Pharma, et al.

On September 7, 2017, the NMAGO filed a complaint against companies who either manufacture opiate-based analgesic pain medications (“opioids”) or who distribute those opioids from the manufacturers to pharmacies. The NMAGO filed this complaint to recover money spent by the state of New Mexico on the following:

  • Reimbursements paid from state insurance programs for opioid prescriptions that were not medically necessary;
  • Costs of providing publically-funded medical care to patients who, because of those medically unnecessary prescriptions, became addicted to opioids;
  • Costs of providing publically-funded medical care to infants born to addicted parents who, due to their parents’ addiction, suffer from their own opioid-related medical issues;
  • Costs of providing publically-funded welfare for children whose parents are addicts or whose parents have died due to overdoses; and
  • Costs incurred by law enforcement and public safety agencies as a result of overdoses and drug-related crimes like possession, burglary, prostitution, and gang violence.

Warning Signs of Prescription Drug Abuse

Warning signs of Prescription drug abuse in your loved ones-or yourself-before it’s too late to get help. The substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that in 2014, 15 million people used prescriptions drugs for non-medical use. Some issues are that the drug user’s perception is that prescription drugs are not as dangerous as they actually are.


Symptoms of Opioid Abuse

  • Confusion and lack of coordination
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Dry Mouth
  • Weakness, dizziness, sleepiness
  • Constricted pupils
  • Watery or droopy eyes
  • Nausea, vomiting, and constipation
  • Respiratory depression (inadequate ventilation)
  • Sleep deprivation or “nodding”
  • Slow, slurred speech
  • Slow gait
  • Dry skin, itching, or skin infections
  • Constant flue-like symptoms
  • Bruises or “track marks” (if injecting)

The Risk Factors

Why do some people become addicted to prescription pills while others do not? Learn more about the risk factors for a developing problem.

  • Behavioral Changes: Most are not able to completely hide addiction but are still likely to try to hide it. Although minor, these signals may indicate of a deeper problem.
  • Physical Symptoms: Most commonly used drugs broken down by the physical symptoms of abuse to help you better identify what medication they may be misusing.

Prescription Drug Disposal Guide

Unused or expired prescription medications are a public safety issue, leading to potential accidental poisoning, misuse, and overdose. proper disposal of unused drugs saves lives and protects the environment.

Unused or expired prescription medications are a public safety issue, leading to potential accidental poisoning, misuse, and overdose. proper disposal of unused drugs saves lives and protects the environment.

You must not share your prescription drugs—they were prescribed to you!

For more information on preventing prescription drug misuse, go to the following websites:

How Proper Disposal of Medicines Protects You and the Earth

  • Prevents poisoning of children and pets
  • Deters misuse by teenagers and adults
  • Avoids health problems from accidentally taking the wrong medicine, too much of the same medicine, or a medicine that is too old to work well
  • Keeps medicines from entering streams and rivers when poured down the drain or flushed down the toilet


How Improper Disposal of Medicines May End Up in Our Drinking Water Sources:

In homes that use septic tanks, prescription and over-the-counter drugs flushed down the toilet can leak into the ground and seep into ground water. In cities and towns where residences are connected to wastewater treatment plants, prescription and over-the-counter drugs poured down the sink or flushed down the toilet can pass through the treatment system and enter rivers and lakes. They may flow downstream to serve as sources for community drinking water supplies. Water treatment plants are generally not equipped to routinely remove medicines.
*According to the EPA

Disposal of Medicines

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sponsors National Prescription Drug Take Back Day in communities nationwide. Many communities also have their own drug take back programs. Check with your local law enforcement officials to find a location near you or with the DEA to find a DEA-authorized collector in your community.

Raul Torrez
Attorney General
Raúl Torrez


The image is the New Mexico Department of Justice primary seal. This seal is framed with gold gradient rope and a slim gold bar followed by a thicker dark blue circular bar that has white text that reads, "State of New Mexico" at the bottom and "Department of Justice" at the top. At the center of the seal is a gradient circle with a dark blue roman-inspired Pillar in the shape of New Mexico.