A new Wallethub report has made the not-so-surprising finding that New Mexico has the worst illicit drug use problem in the nation. To anyone who has lived in or even visited one of New Mexico’s cities for even a short period of time, this is hardly surprising.
There are numerous ways to consider this finding, but at the Rio Grande Foundation we look at it through the lens of a Legislature which is considering ways to address New Mexico’s “worst in the nation” deaths from alcohol.
If you don’t see the relationship between New Mexico’s illicit drug issue and its problem with legal drugs (alcohol) we can’t really help you. Clearly, New Mexicans face some fundamental problems that cause them to “self-medicate” using various mind altering substances, both legal and illegal.
What we’d point out is that the Legislature’s plans (in the past session) to increase alcohol taxation in order to “solve” the State’s alcohol problems is hardly a solution when one considers that the State ALSO suffers from serious issues with illegal drugs. Simply raising taxes is not going to change what are obviously some underlying issues in New Mexico.