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Healthy NJ 2020

Home > Topics > Injury and Violence Prevention

Injury and Violence Prevention

Injuries and violence affect everyone and are a leading cause of disability for persons of all ages, regardless of sex, race/ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. Injuries are the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 44 and are among the top 15 causes of death for Americans of all ages.  Unintentional injuries result from a variety of events including motor vehicle crashes and falls, but in recent years the numbers have been driven up by drug overdoses. Injuries are generally not random and uncontrollable events, and they can often be predicted and prevented.1


Progress Toward Target

*Figures shown are a mix of counts, percentages, rates, and ratios. Click the Objective statement for more information about the corresponding measure.

Exceeding Target
At/Making progress toward Target
Not progressing toward Target
Negative progression toward Target

Unintentional poisoning (overdose) has overtaken motor vehicle crashes as the leading cause of injury death in New Jersey. Violence is another leading cause of injury and death, and a major public health problem in the United States and in New Jersey. 

The New Jersey Violent Death Reporting System (NJVDRS) was established and is maintained through a cooperative agreement with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is housed in the NJDOH Center for Health Statistics (CHS). The NJVDRS is a violence surveillance system that links data from death certificates, medical examiners, and police reports to create a rich dataset that is timelier than traditional death certificate data alone. NJVDRS data have been used by NJDOH, other State Departments, local health and community groups, and researchers at academic institutions in New Jersey to support intervention and prevention programs, grant proposals, and state and collaborative initiatives to reduce the number of deaths due to violence. An example of this inter-departmental approach comes from collaboration with the Department of Children and Families and the New Jersey Youth Suicide Prevention Advisory Council to develop a Youth Suicide Prevention Plan, and again used NJVDRS data to assess progress toward their objectives.

New Jersey Department of Health has also been awarded funds from CDC to aid in responding to the opioid overdose crisis. Under Healthcare Quality and Informatics, Prevention for States: Data-Driven Prevention Initiative (PfS:DDPI) seeks to identify programs and policies that will support efforts to prevent and reduce opioid overdose, misuse, and abuse through the effective use of data. The Center for Health Statistics has been funded to conduct surveillance on fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses through the implementation of Enhanced State Opioid-Involved Overdose Surveillance (ESOOS), which leverages the existing NJVDRS infrastructure and staff to gain further insights for opioid-involved overdose deaths.


Final Assessment

While rates for most Healthy NJ 2020 Injury and Violence objectives improved over the decade, some moved in the wrong direction.

Targets were achieved for:

  • Homicide among high-risk groups
  • Suicide attempts among teens
  • Motor vehicle-related injury deaths

Rates improved but targets were not achieved for:

  • Overall homicide rate
  • Firearm-related injury deaths

Rates worsened for:

  • Unintentional poisoning deaths (More than 95% of which are drug overdoses)
  • Suicide
  • Seat belt use


For more information, please refer to these resources:



  1. Injury and Violence Prevention. Healthy People 2020. 10/8/20

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