KUNM

NM Counties Lose Years To Poverty And Drugs

Mar 31, 2017

A new report breaks down potential years of life lost when people die before the age of 75 and younger people are dying earlier.  

There’s been an increase nationally in premature deaths in rural communities and among Black and Native American populations, according to the 2017 County Health Rankings and Roadmaps report.

And New Mexico’s Rio Arriba and McKinley Counties have rates of years lost to premature death that are more than twice the national average.

“The whole point is to pivot to action with these rankings," researcher Justin Rivas said. "It’s a call to action if you will.”

Rivas said younger generations are losing their lives earlier due to poverty, violence and drug overdose. The numbers may be alarming, he said, but it’s a good starting point for conversation.