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Press Release

For Immediate Release
April 22, 2005
Contact: CDC Injury Media Relations

CDC Releases First National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) Data

Upward trends in suicide and homicide in initial participating states

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today released the first data from the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS). Data reported by the first six participating states, (Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, South Carolina and Virginia) show increases in suicide and homicide rates for the years 2000 through 2003. This data is in contrast to decreases in violent deaths reported in these states and nationwide from 1993 through 2000. Because this system only contains the first year of data in a small number of states, it’s too early to determine how risk factors and trends might have changed in recent years.

In 2003, homicide increased four percent and suicide increased five percent above 2002 rates in the six reporting states. Homicide rates among males under age 25 increased 18 percent in those states.

“NVDRS puts us on the front line to collect rapid, reliable data to better inform our prevention strategies,” said CDC’s Director, Dr. Julie L. Gerberding. ”With NVDRS, we can spot early warning trends for violent deaths and modify our prevention efforts. Among those warning signs are the role of alcohol and drugs in violent deaths, and how often a homicide is followed by a suicide.”

CDC established NVDRS in 2003 to address a crucial gap in understanding national and regional trends in violent deaths by combining relevant records into one repository state-specific data.

“This system provides states and communities valuable information that can be used to develop and implement tailored violence prevention efforts,” said Dr. Ileana Arias, acting director of CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. “The data help to identify potential strategies and also allow us to evaluate our current violence prevention efforts and determine if they are saving lives.”

The NVDRS will document the circumstances of suicides and homicides to help identify and evaluate prevention opportunities. Each state collects detailed information about a violent death directly from the records of state health departments, medical examiners and coroners, and law enforcement, providing a clearer picture of the circumstances surrounding violent deaths at the national, regional, and state levels. Information such as a history of depression or a family dispute, gang activity, drugs and other circumstances surrounding the violent death are recorded.

Currently, 17 states participate in this state-based surveillance system. The next report expected later this year will include the data from the initial six states as well as seven additional states (Alaska, Colorado, Georgia, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Rhode Island and Wisconsin) which began collecting data in 2004. The final four states (California, Kentucky, Utah and New Mexico) which began data collection in 2005, will not release any data until 2006.

CDC hopes to expand NVDRS to all 50 states so data can be compared across states and regions of the country, and to establish national violence related data. For more information about NVDRS, visit or

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This page last updated April 22, 2005

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