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This is the latest in the series of posts highlighting each chapter from the Department of Public Health’s new and comprehensive "Health of Massachusetts" report.

Chapter eleven looks at unintentional injuries in the state. The term injury includes not only unintentional injuries, or “accidents,” but also self-inflicted injuries, suicides, assault-related injuries and homicides.

In Massachusetts, injuries are the leading cause of death for people ages 1-44 and are the third leading cause of death for all ages combined. In fact, injuries result in more deaths of children and youth ages 1-19 than all other causes combined. The financial burden of injures is enormous. Acute care hospital charges associated with injury were more than $2.6 billion in 2007, not including outpatient care, Emergency Medical Services, rehabilitation, long term care costs or lost wages.

But injuries are not chance occurrences – often times they are predictable, and largely preventable! The most successful injury prevention programs combine four basic strategies known as the “4 E’s”: 1) Engineering/environmental interventions, 2)   Education/behavior change and interventions aimed at the individual, 3) Enactment and enforcement of policies, and 4) Emergency medical response and trauma management.

To learn more about unintentional injuries in Massachusetts, visit our website at http://mass.gov/dph/healthofmassachusetts

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Communications Office

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