ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - It is another list New Mexico would rather not be number one on a report released Tuesday by Trust for America's Health ranks the Land of Enchantment as the riskiest state in the country.
"Suicide, homicide, motor vehicle injury, drug overdose death, falls among the elderly, all those things are part of this," said Dr. Michael Landen with the New Mexico Department of Health.
It is a ranking the department of health is used to but not proud of.
New Mexico took the top spot back in 2001 and has remained either first or second for the last decade.
"It is frustrating to see basically all these lives destroyed because of something that is preventable that does get very old," Dr. Landen said.
About two thousand New Mexicans die every year from preventable injuries that is nearly twice the national average.
The DOH said there is no one thing but rather a combination of things.
"New Mexico has a high rate of poverty, that's a major contributor to our high injury death rate, New Mexico has significant problems with substance abuse," said Landen.
In fact New Mexico has the highest drug overdose death rate in the country about 500 people die here each year from overdosing.
The state's rural areas and highway culture are another key factor.
"Lots of long drives which contributes to our high motor vehicle death rate," Landen said.
On that front though Dr. Landen says New Mexico is making some headway because we no longer lead the nation in road deaths.
However, the report points out there is room for improvement there too because New Mexico does not have a motorcycle helmet law for adults.
The DOH said some prevention policies have already been implemented like the statewide prescription drug take-back programs but it's going to take time for them to have an effect.
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