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Bernalillo County, City of Albuquerque, Vital Strategies and SBS Evaluation & Program Development Specialists Launch Community Engagement Plan to Gather Public Input on the Use of Opioid Settlement Funds

Local town halls and listening sessions will be held across the city and county to ensure that communities are involved in developing a strategic plan to reduce overdoses.

(Bernalillo County, New Mexico)—A community engagement plan has been announced by Bernalillo County and the City of Albuquerque, working with the public health organization Vital Strategies and locally-based SBS Evaluation & Program Development Specialists to gather public input for a strategic plan to use funds from opioid-related litigation settlements. A series of town halls will be held where attendees can provide comments, with at least one strategic planning meeting held in each of the five County Commission districts, as well as dedicated outreach to Native American communities.

The following town hall meeting dates and locations are announced. Additional meetings will be announced when details are finalized:

  • Tuesday, July 2 from 5-8 p.m. at the South Valley Multipurpose Senior Center, 2008 Larrazolo Rd SW, Albuquerque, NM 87105. Hosted by Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada (District 2).
  • Wednesday, July 17 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Raymond G. Sanchez Community Center, 9800 4th St NW #2125, Albuquerque, NM 87114. Hosted by Commissioner Walt Benson (District 4) and City Councilor Louis Sanchez (District 1).
  • Thursday, July 25 from 5-8 p.m. at the Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center, 501 Elizabeth St. SE  Albuquerque 87123. Hosted by Commissioner Eric Olivas (District 5) and Councilors Tammy Fiebelkorn (District 7) and Renee Grout (District 9).
  • Wednesday, July 31 from 5-8 p.m. at the Patrick J. Baca Library, 8081 Central Ave. NW, Albuquerque, NM 87121. Hosted by Commissioner Barbara Baca (District 1).
  • Saturday, Aug. 3, from 12:30-3:30 p.m. at the International District Library, 7601 Central Ave NE, Albuquerque, NM 87108. Hosted by Commissioner Adriann Barboa (District 3).

The town halls and listening sessions will inform the development of a strategic plan for investment of the county’s and city’s settlement funds. The key goals of the community meetings are to:

  • Gather community input, opinions, and ideas on how drug use and current responses to drug use, including programs, can be improved.
  • Foster community engagement, build relationships and learn from each other about the different ways communities, individuals, and families are affected by the overdose crisis.
  • Ensure that community members are part of the planning process to inform the development of a city and county strategic plan to reduce overdoses equitably and sustainably.
  • Create a report that summarizes the key themes from community feedback that can be shared with city and county leadership.

“The opioid settlement funds are intended to give back to our communities which have been impacted by this horrific crisis of opioid addiction. This is an opportunity for the city and county to work together to make an impactful reinvestment in our neighborhoods. I encourage everyone to participate in these listening sessions and this thoughtful planning process,” says Bernalillo County Commission Chair Barbara Baca.

“We have an opportunity to make substantial investments into our systems for treating and educating about opioid use, and we want to do it right,” said City Health, Housing & Homelessness Director Gilbert Ramirez. “These listening sessions will offer an opportunity to gather valuable feedback, identify community priorities, and inform us as to where we can invest our resources to best support our impacted community.”

States and local counties across the United States have already begun to receive payments as part of litigation settlements with major pharmaceutical manufacturers and distributors for their role in the overdose crisis. To date, Bernalillo County and the City of Albuquerque have received approximately $23.1 million and $27.6 million, respectively. A resolution passed by both the County Commission and the City Council in October calls for the development of a strategic plan before any additional use of that funding and directs that the plan must be informed by community input. These settlement funds offer a significant opportunity for communities to combat the overdose crisis by driving investment toward evidence-based interventions that reduce overdose risk and improve health outcomes.

“Settlement funds are an incredible opportunity to invest in things that work to save lives and help people be healthier. These funds must be directed towards priorities that are informed by evidence, and that matter to the people most deeply impacted by overdose. We are proud to be a part of this process to hear from the community and create a strategy that works for the city and county” said Donette Perkins, Program Manager for the Overdose Prevention Program at Vital Strategies.

To learn more about how to sign up, attend an upcoming meeting, and stay up to date on the strategic plan initiative, visit Input towards the strategic plan for settlement spending can also be submitted via email to, a survey at or at 505-468-7412.

About Bernalillo County

Bernalillo County is 1,160 square miles and is New Mexico’s most populous county with more than 676,000 residents. Bernalillo County government provides a wide range of public services to residents who live in Albuquerque, Los Ranchos and Tijeras with approximately 106,000 residents living in unincorporated areas of the county. Bernalillo County employs approximately 2,500 people and has an annual operating budget, capital investments and other funds of more than $1 billion. Elected officials include five county commissioners, assessor, clerk, probate judge, sheriff and treasurer.

About the City of Albuquerque

The City of Albuquerque Department of Health, Housing, and Homelessness strives to improve the quality of life for everyone in Albuquerque by supporting behavioral health, public health initiatives, affordable housing, and homeless services.   

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. Our overdose prevention program works to strengthen and scale evidence-based, data-driven policies and interventions to create equitable and sustainable reductions in overdose deaths. Work across seven U.S. states is supported by funding from the Bloomberg Philanthropies Overdose Prevention Initiative, launched in 2018, and targeted investments from other partners.

About SBS Evaluation & Program Development Specialists

SBS Evaluation & Program Development Specialists, LLC is a New Mexico based, woman-owned, evaluation, technical assistance and training organization with over 20 years in the field of prevention and treatment. A strategic partner to many Tribal entities, municipalities, state, federal and non-governmental organizations. They believe in the transformative power of data driven-decision-making and building local capacity.

Learn more at