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Addiction specialist urges New Mexico to consider funding treatment if marijuana is legalized

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- If New Mexico legalizes recreational marijuana, a Las Cruces addiction specialist hopes that lawmakers will provide increased funding for treatment and education on the substance.

"If you're going to introduce a substance and make it legal, the numbers are going to go up for the possibility of addiction," said Ryan Brewer, the CEO of Zia Recovery Center. "You want to increase funding for the solution for that."

Of his clients at Zia Recovery Center, Brewer told ABC-7 that 30 to 40 percent report some level of marijuana addiction. However, he said no client has sought treatment solely for marijuana.

"We've never had straight marijuana use before," Brewer said. "It usually goes hand in hand with something else."

He said Zia Recovery Center will continue to treat residents struggling with addiction to all substances, whether they are sold in stores or on the streets.

"It doesn't matter whether it's legal or not," Brewer said. "We're here to help people with what they're addicted to and help them lead better lives."

State Sen. Jeff Steinborn (D-Las Cruces) is doubtful that any money raised from marijuana sales will go toward education or treatment.

“It’s something that I’m advocating for, but I think there is a resistance in this year, in this particular bill to designate any use of the funds," Steinborn told ABC-7.

Health / New Mexico Politics / News / Video

Kate Bieri

Kate Bieri is ABC-7’s New Mexico Mobile Newsroom reporter and co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend evening newscasts.

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