New Mexico’s opioid fight not without campaign contributions

pills, medicine, prescription

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — In a state with one of the highest drug overdose rates in the nation, there has been no shortage of campaign donations in New Mexico by the prescription drug industry and allied advocacy groups.

An investigation by The Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity found that drugmakers that produce opioid painkillers and their allies spent more than $880 million nationally on political contributions and lobbying over the past decade.

In New Mexico in 2012 alone, opioid makers spent $32,000 lobbying — more than double the year before.

Up for consideration that year was a bill that called for limiting initial prescriptions of opioid painkillers for acute pain to seven days. The measure was ultimately defeated.

Overall, drug companies and their employees contributed nearly $40,000 to New Mexico campaigns in 2012 — roughly 70 percent more than in previous years with no governor’s race on the ballot.

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