Jennifer Weiss-Burke

photo of Jennifer Weiss-Burke in front of Serenity Mesa
By the Numbers

THE NEED:
537
People died of drug overdose in New Mexico in 2018

2 in 3
Drug overdose deaths in the state that involve an opioid (prescription or illegal)
2X
Youth who abuse substances are twice as likely to commit crimes and end up in jail
82
Average number of opiod pills a patient receives to manage pain following surgery

IMPACT:
65
Individuals who receive services at Serenity Mesa in 2019
171
Youth have received treatment since opening in 2015

Jennifer Weiss-Burke
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Serenity Mesa

“It’s not just about the drug, but it is about the recovery.”

Photo of Jennifer Weiss-Burke, Executive Director of Serenity Mesa

PHOTO: New Mexico Woman

Jennifer Weiss-Burke

  • What is Serenity Mesa?
    In 2011, Jennifer Weiss-Burke started a mission to create something she wishes had existed for her son — that mission became Serenity Mesa Recovery Center. Her son, Cameron, was a high school athlete. He had a sports injury, and was given prescription opiates for pain. He became addicted to the pain killers — then to heroin. He died of a drug overdose in August 2011. “I was so frustrated,” Jennifer says. “I noticed the difference in him as he became addicted, and we tried to navigate treatment. But there wasn’t adequate treatment for youth who were struggling with addiction. Three to four weeks treatment was the average.” Now Jennifer knows that successful treatment of meth or heroin addiction can take much longer — up to a year.
  • Serenity Mesa opened in May 2015
    as a residential sober-living facility,
    offering long-term addiction treatment
    (90+ days) for young people age 14-21.
    Individualized programs include sober
    living, counseling, life skills and education.

    “We do a lot of relapse prevention,”
    Jennifer says, “preparing them for how
    they will handle drug encounters once
    they leave here.”

    Cameron’s memorial, and those for
    15 others, appears on Serenity Mesa’s
    website. In his memory, Jennifer now
    also lobbies for opioid alternatives for
    medical pain management.