Suicide, drugs, alcohol — see how many NJ lives were taken in one year
Drugs, alcohol, and suicide took more than 4,500 lives in New Jersey throughout 2021, according to a report released on Wednesday by Trust for America's Health.
But a look at the year-over-year figures related to deaths of despair shows that the Garden State performed quite well when compared to the nation as a whole.
The U.S. in 2021 tallied a record 209,255 deaths due to drugs, alcohol, and suicide — an 11% increase from the year prior. New Jersey was one of just three states to record a drop (-0.9%) in its drugs-alcohol-suicide fatality count from year to year.
In 2021, 43 states and Washington, D.C. posted higher alcohol-induced death rates than in 2020. But New Jersey's count of 831 deaths represented an 8% drop from 2020. The Garden State in 2021 posted the lowest age-adjusted alcohol death rate in 2021 (7.8 per 100,000), according to the report.
Drug-induced deaths edged up by 1% in New Jersey in 2021, but spiked 14% nationally, the report shows. The suicide rate dropped in 10 states from year to year; it barely moved in New Jersey (688 in 2021).
The report cites drugs, alcohol, and suicide in 4,570 New Jersey deaths in 2021, the first full year of coronavirus-pandemic impacts.
Nationwide, the number of these deaths more than doubled between 2011 and 2021, according to the report. Between 2016 and 2021, the drug overdose rate increased by more than 60%.
"We do know that there are evidence-based solutions to reverse these trends," Brandon Reavis, senior government relations manager for TFAH, told New Jersey 101.5.
In the report, TFAH makes a handful of recommendations for lawmakers, including better mental health services in schools, investment in harm-reduction programs for drug users, and investing in measures to prevent and mitigate adverse childhood experiences.
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