State By State Advocacy
September 2007    

Oregon Violent Death Reporting System Shows Higher Suicide Rate Among Military Veterans
Report Demonstrates Need to Expand National Violent Death Reporting System to All 50 States


Washington, D.C. (September 17, 2007) – A new report released today by the Oregon Department of Human Services finds that suicide remains the leading cause of violent deaths in Oregon, and is particularly high among military veterans.

The findings in the report, Violent Deaths in Oregon: 2005, demonstrate the need for similar information from all 50 states to help prevent violent deaths, which could be provided by the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS). Included in the report findings:

  • Nearly 30 percent of all suicides in 2005 were military veterans
  • Age-adjusted rates of suicide among male veterans in 2005 was twice the rate among non-veterans
  • Suicide rates among older adults were nearly 80 percent higher than the national average in 2005
“NVDRS links critical data about violent deaths, including homicides and suicides, and its full implementation in all 50 states must be a priority as we work to prevent suicide among veterans,” said Jerry Reed, executive director of the Suicide Prevention Action Network USA. “Through NVDRS, we can capture data that is critical to identifying patterns and developing prevention strategies to save lives.”

NVDRS, which is currently implemented in 17 states including Oregon, is a comprehensive, linked reporting system that collects and centralizes information on violent deaths, including suicides, from a variety of sources to create a clearer picture of the circumstances and to aid violent death prevention efforts. The program is designed to:

Collect and link data about all violent deaths, including all homicides and suicides;
Collect and link data at the state level, with funding and coordination provided at the national level, by the CDC;
Compile and combine data from medical examiners, coroners, death certificates, crime labs, and law enforcement officers, providing a more complete understanding of when, where, and how violent deaths occur; and
Include timely information on the circumstances of the deaths and the relationship between victims and offenders. To protect confidentiality, names and personal identifiers are not part of the national dataset.

The National Violence Prevention Network ( is working to fully implement NVDRS in the United States to enable every state to design and implement effective violent death prevention programs. While state-specific information provides enormous value to local public health and law enforcement officials, national data from all 50 states, the U.S. territories and the District of Columbia must be obtained to complete the picture and establish effective national suicide prevention policies and programs.

View the report Violent Death in Oregon: 2005:


NVPN Contact:
Paul Bonta
(202) 466-2044

Media Contact:
Annika Toenniessen
(202) 715-1566