How NJ’s Suicide, Drugs, Alcohol Deaths Compare to Other States
They're known as deaths of despair — lives lost prematurely to suicide, alcohol and drugs.
Compared to other states, New Jersey performs quite well on two of these measures, but alarmingly poor on the other.
In a state-by-state analysis from the Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based group devoted to promoting a high-performing health care system, it was revealed that New Jersey's suicide and alcohol-related death rates both ranked among the best in the nation.
At 8.3 per 100,000 people, the state's suicide rate ranked third nationally in 2017, according to the report released Wednesday.
Ranking fourth nationally, alcohol led to 6.3 deaths per 100,000 people in New Jersey in the same year.
Suicide and alcohol deaths, the report found, happened to impact states more in the western half of the country. States in the east, including New Jersey, tend to be impacted more by the opioid epidemic.
"Deaths from drug overdose in New Jersey are almost five times higher than alcohol-related deaths," said David Radley, senior scientist at the Commonwealth Fund.
According to the report, 30 people per 100,000 in New Jersey lost their lives to drugs in 2017. That rate ranks 39th countrywide; the national average is a rate of 21.7 per 100,000.
And the problem in New Jersey has grown exponentially over time. The report found the overdose rate in the Garden State more than doubled since 2013.
Preliminary numbers from the state point to 3,118 overdose deaths in 2018. So far in 2019, through May 12, the state has counted 874 overdose deaths.