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BREAKING: UNM Cancels Plans to Relocate Drug Clinic

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico on Wednesday announced it had cancelled plans to relocate its substance abuse clinic after meeting much resistance from residents who say there are too many such clinics already.
UNM Hospitals CEO Steve McKernan said the school backed off the proposed relocation after the second of three community meetings that drew numerous residents.
The Addiction and Substance Abuse Program, which the university operates, would have been built on Central and San Mateo SE. Regents had already approved the purchase of the land, for $1.1 million. The program provides detox treatments, methadone and Suboxone, as well as counseling and primary health care. The program also houses part of UNM’s Milagro program, which helps pregnant women who are addicted to opiates.
But strong opposition from residents of the International District and surrounding areas prompted to UNM to back away from the plans.
“After the last meeting we got together. We thought unless we had some other convincing information that we could bring to the community, it would appear from previous meetings that there wasn’t enough support,” McKernan said Wednesday.
The decision to halt the move was lauded by many but criticized by members of the community who said the International District desperately needs more resources for drug addicts.
Trumbull Village Neighborhood Association president Joanne Landry said she sees the need for more services on a daily basis.
“These needs are tremendous in our community,” she said. “I would just be delighted and happy if you guys could find another location (in the International District).
But the university has spent the past two years looking for a good location and has struggled to find one, McKernan said.
Now, it has a few months to find a new one. The current clinic, near the airport, is in a warehouse that UNM leases, but the owners are not renewing the lease past June or July, McKernan said.
UNM also had other reasons for the relocation, including the fact that the Central and San Mateo location is on central bus lines, and that many of its clients live in that area. The relocation would make ASAP much more accessible, McKernan has said.
Residents disagreed, saying the high number of methadone clinics and substance abuse centers contribute to the high crime rate in their neighborhoods.

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