New Mexico Peer Education Project Nationally Recognized for Harm Reduction Program in Criminal Justice System
Newest Spotlight Series program educates New Mexico inmates about harm reduction
Washington, D.C. – Addiction Policy Forum announces New Mexico Peer Education Project as a program featured in the Spotlight Series Initiative, which highlights innovative programs across the country that contribute to a comprehensive strategy to address addiction.
“Over 40 percent of individuals in New Mexico state prisons test positive for hepatitis C,” says Mark O’Brien Executive Vice President of State and Local Affairs. “New Mexico Peer Education Project helps educate those individuals about health and substance use disorders while incarcerated so they are better informed about diseases when they re-enter society.”
Prisoner health is community health. New Mexico Peer Education Project trains incarcerated individuals to educate their peers about substance use disorders, harm reduction, infectious diseases and basic health literacy. Providing health education to inmates before they are released from prison offers an opportunity to reduce the harms of substance use and other unhealthy behaviors in the community and provides peer educators with skills that can be used in their careers.
“This program gives incarcerated individuals hope. Hope is a very powerful thing,” says Saul Hernandez, New Mexico Peer Education Project Program Manager. “These individuals are finding their purpose in life. They stop using drugs. They gain confidence, and they share important knowledge with fellow incarcerated peers and the community.”
Addiction Policy Forum features innovative programs as part of its Spotlight Series Initiative. Programs are nominated by key stakeholders, community members, and/or experts in the fields of addiction, and selected by the Addiction Policy Forum Advisory Board.
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About Addiction Policy Forum
Addiction Policy Forum is a 501(c)(3) organization established in 2015 as a diverse partnership of organizations, policymakers, and stakeholders committed to working together to elevate awareness around addiction, and to improve programs and policy through a comprehensive response that includes prevention, treatment, recovery, and criminal justice reform. Jessica Hulsey Nickel, whose own family was devastated by addiction, is the founder of a coalition of 1,700 families impacted by substance use disorders and is available for further explanation and interviews by media.
More information on our mission and projects is available at http://addictionpolicy.org.