*Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with a link to a corrected report from NMDOH.
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – In response to a public health order addressing gun violence in New Mexico, the state’s health department has released a multi-year report on individuals showing up at New Mexico hospitals with gunshot wounds.
From 2010 to 2021, New Mexico’s age-adjusted firearm death rate increased by 87%, the report said. Suicide is the top cause of gun-related death in New Mexico, but homicide shooting deaths have “surged,” according to the report.
“The findings of this report are clear: New Mexico faces an urgent firearm-related injury crisis,” Patrick Allen, the secretary of the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH), said in a press release. “The alarming surge in firearm-related injuries and deaths revealed in this report demands our immediate attention. We must work together as a community to implement effective interventions that will save lives and reduce the economic burden on our healthcare system.”
Gun injury rates aren’t the same across the state, the report shows. The Metro health region (which includes Albuquerque) saw a 22% increase in the number of firearm injury emergency department visits from July 2021 to June 2023. The southern half of the state didn’t see an increase, and the southeast actually saw a 32% decrease over that time.
New Mexico isn’t alone in seeing increased gun deaths in recent years. About 15 per 100,000 people died from firearm injuries nationwide in 2021. But New Mexico’s firearm injury death rate in 2021 was nearly twice as high, the report shows.
Treating firearm injuries has also cost taxpayers millions of dollars. The report estimates that in 2022 alone, Medicaid paid out $12 million to treat firearm injuries – an 85% increase since 2018.
The full report covers more details on demographics and trends. The data is a compilation of a variety of sources and studies.