Policy Under the Influence: Addressing Substance Abuse in New Mexico

Short Seminar

June 25–26, 2008

A follow-up to two public forums on the issue of alcohol-related traffic fatalities held in memory of SAR staff member Judy Scasserra, who was killed by a drunk driver in 2005, this two-day seminar moved the topic forward by examining the policy implications of substance abuse research in New Mexico. “The focus of the seminar was on the translation of that research into policy that can be used to effect much needed change,” said co-chairs Cathleen E. Willging and Nancy Owen Lewis.

Federal schemes stress the need for culturally sensitive and evidence-based programs, but currently New Mexico has no suitable treatment programs for its unique cultural populations—the state has the largest percentage of Hispanics and the second-largest percentage of Native Americans in the country. High rates of poverty and unemployment further complicate the issues related to drunk driving.

Seminar participant Louise Lamphere had previously suggested that “anthropologists need to make concerted efforts to influence policy in areas where we have expertise and where our research points to important changes that need to be made.” The seminar was designed to do just that: its ultimate goal was to affect New Mexico’s serious substance abuse problems by translating research into formats that could be used for critical policy reform. The final results will be presented as a policy brief to the New Mexico Interagency Behavioral Health Purchasing Collaborative, an organization created by the legislature in 2004 to increase collaboration among New Mexico’s 15 behavioral health–related agencies.

Nancy Owen Lewis, Chair Director of Scholar Programs, SAR One for the Road Again: DWI and the Culture of Reform
Cathleen E. Willging, Chair Program Director and Research Scientist, Behavioral Health Research Ctr of the SW, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation “You Don’t Need Flowers If You Don’t Have a Table to Put ‘Em On”: How Behavioral Health Providers Experience System Reform
Gregory A. Aarons Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, San Diego The Soft Underbelly: Understanding and Improving Organizational Processes and Employee Disengagement in the New Mexico Behavioral Health Care System
Larry W. Emerson Consultant and Adjunct Professor, San Diego State University Indigenous Research Philosophy and Behavioral Health Research
Louise Lamphere Distinguished Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico Discussant
Sandra C. Lapham Director, Behavioral Health Research Ctr of the SW, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation Shifting Gears: Long Term Effects of Drunk Driving Convictions on New Mexicans with Alcohol Dependence
Elizabeth Lilliott Associate Research Scientist, Behavioral Health Research Ctr of the SW, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation Intergenerational Substance Abuse and Trauma: Youth and Families Coping with Structural Violence in Rural New Mexico
Karen Meador Senior Policy Director, Human Services Department, Behavioral Health Collaborative Discussant
Michael Leon Trujillo Assistant Professor, American Studies and Chicano Studies, University of New Mexico Why These People in this Place of Time? A Drug Epidemic and Social Suffering in a Northern New Mexican Town
Nina Wallerstein Professor, MPH Program, Dept. of Family and Community Medicine, University of New Mexico The Practice of Community-Based Participatory Research in Prevention and Intervention Research with Native Communities and Other Communities of Color: Principles and Challenges in the Behavioral Health Arena

Follow us: