Washington, D.C. (October 24, 2007)—An amendment by U.S. Sens. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.) and Joe Biden (D-Del.) to increase funding for the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) by approximately $4 million – allowing the comprehensive violent death data collection system to expand to up to 12 additional states – was approved by the U.S. Senate yesterday as part of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education funding bill (H.R. 3043). The additional funds for NVDRS were offset by a reduction in other spending. The legislation must now be reconciled with the House-passed bill and signed by the President before it becomes law.
“The National Violence Prevention Network applauds Senators Smith and Biden for their efforts to move this important program forward,” said Michael Parkinson, M.D., president of the American College of Preventive Medicine, and a member of the National Violence Prevention Network. “Including the Senate provision in the final bill will be a significant step toward expanding NVDRS to all 50 states so that we have the data we need to create the most effective violent death prevention strategies.”
Currently operating in 17 states, NVDRS is a comprehensive, linked reporting system funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that collects and centralizes information on violent death, including homicides and suicides, from a variety of sources, such as medical examiners and coroners, law enforcement, hospitals, public health officials and crime labs to provide a complete picture of the circumstances surrounding violent deaths and helps health officials and organizations create more effective prevention programs.
Jerry Reed, executive director of the Suicide Prevention Action Network USA (SPAN USA) and a member of the National Violence Prevention Network, thanked Sen. Smith for his continued leadership on suicide prevention.
“NVDRS compiles critical data about suicides – so we know if someone who died by suicide was being treated for depression, had a substance abuse problem or had shared his or her intent beforehand,” Reed said. “These important details can help us develop the most effective strategies to prevent suicide.”
Without NVDRS, we wouldn’t know:
- That veterans make up about 11 percent of the U.S. population, but account for about 20 percent of deaths by suicide in NVDRS participating states;
- That nearly 40 percent of older adults who completed suicide in Oregon had visited a primary care doctor in the month before their death, illustrating the need for better integration of primary care and mental health services; and
- That women in North Carolina were seven times more likely than men to be killed by a spouse, ex-spouse, intimate partner or former intimate partner – making intimate partner violence the leading cause of female homicides.
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 homicide and suicide prevention policies and programs.