Santa Fe medical center looks to battle addiction with art | KOB 4

Santa Fe medical center looks to battle addiction with art

Morgan Aguilar
May 16, 2018 08:59 AM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Employees of a medical center in Santa Fe are working to make their community more supportive of people battling addiction.


This month, some of their patients will put their stories on display through photography at the Santa Fe Art Institute.

“We wanted to tell the story of how people could put their lives back together, and how people could reclaim their lives, said Wendy Johnson, the Medical Director at La Familia Medical Center (LFMC).

Five years ago, LFMC started a Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) program for substance use disorders. They prescribe Suboxone to pregnant women battling addiction.

“It prevents you from having these cravings, from having withdrawal, and then you can work on the more psychological aspects of addiction,” said Johnson.

From there, they treat the patient holistically to find out how that addiction started.

“A lot of histories of domestic violence, a lot of histories of past sexual abuse, and here they are, a lot single mamas,” said Johnson.

Candice Mckim was one of the first to enter the program. She says her addiction started with alcohol, then turned to drugs.

“After years of using, I lost everything,” said McKim. “I landed up being homeless.”

McKim entered the MAT program after she found out she was pregnant.

“I wanted to get better to make sure I have a healthy daughter,” said McKim.

Johnson says they knew there was a health care gap for women like McKim in Santa Fe that they wanted to help fill.

“There really was no treatment options for pregnant women where they could get their prenatal care and their substance abuse treatment all at the same place,” said Johnson. “They really had to come to Albuquerque for that mostly so we were seeing a lot of women that weren't able to get into treatment, so they weren't able to get off drugs and they were delivering with their babies dependent on heroin or narcotics and having to spend weeks and weeks in the hospital withdrawing.”

Now they have delivered more than 100 healthy babies, and are treating more than 400 patients.

For the past 18 months, many of those patients have been learning how to capture their journey with a camera.

“We just went and took pictures of where we had past trauma,” said McKim.

McKim says it was hard visiting some of the places of her past, but it has helped her reclaim her life. She hopes anyone who sees her pictures is reminded that there is always hope.

“If you have an addiction problem or you’re suffering from anything, alcohol or, I mean there's a lot of addictions out there, just that you can get through it,” said McKim. “And that there is other hopes in life besides that.

McKim’s and other patient’s photos will be on display for just one night at the Santa Fe Art Institute. The event is free and is on May 24th from 5-7 p.m.


Morgan Aguilar

Copyright 2018 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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