Violent Death Report Underscores Intervening Early, CDC Says

CDC recently released the second detailed report summarizing violent deaths from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS), a system that collects reports from 16 participating states. Summarizing data on 15,395 violent deaths, the report ("Surveillance for Violent Deaths — National Violent Death Reporting System, 16 States, 2006") contains demographic information about victims and suspects, mental health problems, drug or alcohol use, and more. It will be published in the March 20 edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Surveillance Summaries.

NVDRS obtains the data from death certificates, coroner/medical examiner reports, toxicology results, law enforcement reports, and other reports related to each death. This report says 56 percent of violent deaths in those states during the period were suicides, followed by homicides and deaths involving legal interventions (28 percent) and violent deaths of undetermined intent (15 percent).

Highlighted in the release signed by W. Rodney Hammond, Ph.D., director of the Division of Violence Prevention in CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, were these findings:

  • Violent deaths resulting from self-inflicted or interpersonal violence were disproportionately higher among males, those 20-54 years old, and minority populations.
  • Relationship problems, interpersonal conflicts, mental health problems, and recent crises were among the primary precipitating factors for many types of violent deaths.
  • The majority of all violent deaths occurred in the home and involved a single victim.
  • Firearms were the most common method used in suicides, homicides, incidents involving multiple victims, and homicide followed by suicide incidents.
  • Alcohol was present at the time of death in about one-third of all violent deaths.

CDC began implementing NVDRS in 2002, funding six states initially and expanding that number in 2006. The program's goal is to include all 50 states, all U.S. territories, and Washington, D.C. Participants agree to voluntarily report all violent deaths. The 16 states included in this report are Alaska, California, Colorado, Georgia, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Data from the 16 are available online from WISQARS™ (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System).

The findings of this report underscore the importance of teaching young people much earlier to develop and promote non-violent intimate and interpersonal relationships, CDC said.

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