“More than 55,000 Americans died because of homicide or suicide in 2011. That's an average of more than six people dying a violent death every hour,” Dr. Daniel Sosin, acting director of the CDC's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control said in a statement. “This is disheartening and we know many of these deaths can be prevented. Participating states will be better able to use state-level data to develop, implement, and evaluate prevention and intervention efforts to stop violent deaths.”
In addition to tracking the number of deaths, the system provides information on circumstances of a death, including whether mental health problems, financial trouble or physical health problems were involved.
Started in 2002, the system was a tool for states in the hope that investigators would get a better understanding as to why a violent death occurred so that better prevention and intervention efforts could be developed.
New states being added to the system include Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Washington.
More than 56,000 people died violently in 2011, according to the CDC, with more than 39,000 suicides and 17,000 homicides. Violent deaths cost the U.S. roughly $107 billion a year in medical care and lost worker productivity, according to CDC estimates.
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