Taos Misuse Summit | A Community Call to Action

Holy Cross Medical Center, along with Taos Alive, Rio Grande Alcoholism Treatment Program, and Golden Willow Counseling, hosted the Taos Substance Misuse Summit on June 20 at UNM-Taos’s Bataan Hall.

The all-day summit featured a variety of speakers addressing topics such as the stigma associated with substance use disorder; Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their relationship with SUD; the importance of Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT); the science of addiction; and law enforcement assisted diversion.

The collective goal of these presentations was to bring more awareness to SUD, and other effective methods being implemented in other communities. Another intention of the summit was to spur on a sense of unified community collaboration in the fight against substance misuse.

After months of preparation and planning meetings with the organizers, more than 140 individuals, representing a variety of community sectors, were in attendance for the summit.
Speakers included Taos Pueblo Tribal Secretary Harold Left-hand, Stan Espinoza, researcher Kendra Clawson; Dr. Rasa Lila O’Donnell and Tiana Suazo from the Northern New Mexico Rural Health Network; behavioral health professional Heidi Wahl; Dr. Eric Ketchum, an emergency physician and addiction specialist in Santa Fe and Espanola for the Presbyterian Healthcare System; Dr. James C. “Jes” Montgomery, MD, a certified family medicine and addiction medicine specialist from Dallas, Texas; and LEAD Santa Fe director Shelly Moeller. Ted Wiard from Golden Willow Counseling and Lawrence Medina from Rio Grande Alcohol Treatment Program were the masters of ceremonies for the summit.

The full day of events was capped with group breakout sessions that allowed participants to engage fellow attendees in a discussion about different possible actions that could inspire collaboration and have a positive effect on substance misuse in Taos County.

A second summit, exclusively for practitioners, pharmacists and behavioral health providers, will take place on July 15, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at El Monte Sagrado Living Resort and Spa, 317 Kit Carson Road, Taos, NM.

The second summit will feature presentations from Daniel Duhigg, D.O., M.B.A., the Medical Director for Addiction Services for Presbyterian Healthcare Services in Albuquerque; and Snehal Bhatt, MD, who is a board-certified physician in General Psychiatry and Addiction Psychiatry, as well as a UNM faculty member and the medical director for the Addictions and Substance Abuse Programs; and Stanford Kemp, the New Mexico Department of Health’s Emergency Department Overdose Prevention Coordinator.

Taos’s own Jemery Kaufman, MD, will be the master of ceremonies for the evening and will discuss her experiences as a Taos physician who incorporates Medicated-Assisted Treatment (MAT) into her practice. To register for the July 15 summit, visit taosalive.org and follow the link for registration. Dinner is provided and registration is required to ensure that everyone is provided with a meal. For questions and more information, contact Andy Jones at andy@taosalive.org.

Written by Andy Jones, Taos Alive

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