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New Mexico In-Depth

The toxic legacy of uranium mining in New Mexico

ProPublica, a national news organization, published A Uranium Ghost Town in the Making yesterday, about an important topic many Americans, including New Mexicans, still know little about: the legacy of uranium in our state and the greater Southwest. The story focuses on the residents of the small northwest New Mexico...
METAL MINING
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Help us learn: Share your story with alcohol

Many New Mexican families struggle with alcohol but the problem has often been neglected. That’s partly because of stigma towards addiction: it doesn’t always feel easy to share stories about it. New Mexico In Depth published Blind Drunk last week, a series about why New Mexico leads the...
DRINKS
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Blind Drunk

Alcohol is killing New Mexicans at a higher rate than anywhere else in the country — yet the state has largely neglected the growing crisis. In this seven-part series, New Mexico In Depth investigates the state’s blind spots and shines a light on solutions.
POLITICS

EYES ON THE ROAD

New Mexico State Police Lieutenant Kurtis Ward scanned traffic, weaving his Ford Expedition through northbound traffic on Interstate 25. It was 8:37pm on a wintry Friday night. A full moon was cresting the Sandias. The workday of the DWI Unit had just begun. “I watch for that car that’s doing...
TRAFFIC

A MISSING INGREDIENT

New Mexico is a violent state. It ranks among the worst for women murdered by men, child abuse and neglect are almost twice as common as they are nationwide, and its rate of suicide is one of the highest of any state. Last year, Albuquerque’s homicide rate shattered previous records, a 46% jump from 2020, and the state’s reached heights not experienced since 1986.
ALBUQUERQUE, NM

POISONOUS MYTHS

The forecasted low in Gallup is 17 degrees, cold even for February, but the man’s jacket is unzipped when the headlights find him slumped against a darkened storefront, a Broncos cap pulled over his eyes. “I’m going to get you some place warm,” Public Safety Officer Gabriel Lee Jr. says as he helps the man into the back of the police van.
NAVAJO, NM

AN EMERGENCY HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT

Alcohol kills New Mexicans at a higher rate than anywhere else in the country — and no one can fully explain why. New Mexicans die of alcohol-related causes at nearly three times the national average, higher by far than any other state. Alcohol is involved in more deaths than fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamines combined. In 2020, it killed more New Mexicans under 65 than Covid-19 did in the first year of the pandemic — all told, 1,878 people.
HEALTH
New Mexico In-Depth

PAYING THE TAB

Alcohol costs New Mexico dearly. It killed 1,878 residents in 2020, three times the nation’s rate. But getting hammered here is cheap. At the Shop-N-Save on Gallup’s west side, a thirty-rack of Natural Ice beer sells for $24.95 after tax, a little over two hours’ earnings at minimum wage. Total Wine in Santa Fe offers a five-liter box of Franzia Crisp White wine for $15.15, or 45 cents per drink. And you can’t do better than Wal-Mart in Rio Rancho, where a 1.75-liter handle of Aristocrat vodka sells for $11.84, just 30 cents a drink.

A SOBER APPRAISAL

At a 12-steps meeting in Albuquerque’s foothills, one of hundreds held each week statewide, there were cowboys, Anglo women in golf shirts, and Hispanic day laborers. A woman without housing asked around for a place to stay the night. A downcast man in nurse’s scrubs said he had relapsed but hoped to go home that night, if his wife would have him.
ALBUQUERQUE, NM

ALCOHOL AND YOUR HEALTH

People generally overestimate the share of their peers who drink. In New Mexico, a majority of the adult population abstains: just 49% reported having consumed a drink in the previous month. Drinkers’ beliefs about what constitutes safe and appropriate levels of consumption are powerfully shaped by drinkers around them. Hence...
ALBUQUERQUE, NM

EVERY DOOR IS THE RIGHT DOOR

Once a prosperous salesman in the construction industry, he’d lost his job and health insurance. Gone were the dream house he’d designed in Albuquerque’s foothills and many of the motorcycles he’d owned. The last one, a Kawasaki W650 with a peashooter exhaust, sat in his garage in disrepair.
ALBUQUERQUE, NM

RESOURCES FOR REPORTERS

Drinking is involved in a huge and rising number of illnesses and injuries nationwide yet rarely receives attention by reporters in proportion to that harm. Whether your beat is health, traffic safety, violent crime, business, culture, or politics, alcohol is a big untapped opportunity. New Mexico In Depth’s series Blind...
HEALTH

Eight years after murders, Native people still outsized share of Albuquerque homelessStatewide, unhoused Native people appear to be dying more frequently and at younger ages than any other group.

Stephanie Plummer remembers her brother Kee Thompson as an exceedingly kind person, quiet at first but talkative and outgoing once he got to know people. “If there was someone who was struggling and needed the shirt off his back, he would give it to them,” Plummer said during an interview with New Mexico In Depth.
ALBUQUERQUE, NM

Resisting fast fashion

When COVID-19 locked the world down in March 2020, I needed a creative outlet to help cope with the isolation. Fashion has always been how I express myself, but shopping online wasn’t the same as trying clothes on in a store. So I saved up money, bought a sewing machine, and began making my own clothes.
ALBUQUERQUE, NM

Oil and Gas: Big giving, Big statehouse influence

Big questions loom as the 2022 primary election nears. Who will Democrats nominate for Attorney General, State Auditor Brian Colón or Bernalillo County District Attorney Raul Torrez? Who among a lengthy list of Republicans will challenge Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham this fall? Will a concerted effort by conservative forces to unseat a group of progressive Democratic incumbents succeed? I would add, will the oil and gas industry feel like a winner after the election?

We all need to learn more about boarding schools and their legacy

This week the U.S. Interior Department released a 100-page report on the lasting consequences of the federal Indian boarding school system. You might recall last June Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, an enrolled member of the Laguna Pueblo, announced the federal agency would investigate the extent of the loss of human life and legacy of the federal Indian boarding school system, a chapter of U.S. history many Americans know little to nothing about.
ALBUQUERQUE, NM
New Mexico In-Depth

Critical race theory is a GOP bogeyman

Last weekend, Derek Matthews, the founder of the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, asked GOP state lawmaker and GOP gubernatorial hopeful Rebecca Dow to pull a campaign commercial that talked about “critical race theory. Standing on a stage with Dow in front of thousands of Native people who had...

Local redistricting efforts highlight tough choices

At a recent Zoom meeting of the Albuquerque Citizens Redistricting Committee, members furrowed their brows and squinted into their computer monitors, examining a newly drafted map that would balance population in each of nine City Council districts. Member Travis Kellerman, a self-described data-obsessed futurist, had asked the committee’s consultants to...
ALBUQUERQUE, NM