Drugs and guns are two of the leading causes of injury-related deaths in Maine in 2020, the latest year that data is available, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

In 2020, there were 1,432 injury-related deaths in the state, which includes suicides, homicides and unintentional deaths, such as motor vehicle accidents or drug or alcohol poisoning. Noninjury deaths are any death by disease, such as cancer, heart disease or Alzheimer’s disease, for example. Those deaths make up the vast majority of all deaths.

The leading cause of unintentional, or accidental, deaths in Maine in 2020 were drug overdoses. Two out of every five deaths determined to be accidental in Maine were drug related. Of the 504 drug-related deaths in 2020, 457 were ruled accidents. There were 33 drug-related deaths that were determined to be suicides. The majority of both accidental and suicide deaths by drug overdoses were of men, with 72% and 55%, respectively.

Falls and motor vehicle accidents trailed behind drug overdoses as the leading causes of accidental deaths.

More than half of all suicides in 2020 were by firearm and 86% of the 154 firearm-related deaths in the state were suicides, according to a new report by the Maine CDC. The majority of suicides by firearm were by men 45 years and older.

The suicide rate in Maine is increasing, too. From 2010 to 2020, the number of suicides per 100,000 Mainers increased 24%, according to U.S. CDC data, which is more than the overall increase in deaths in the state and exceeds the rate of increase nationwide.


The suicide rate in Maine has also exceeded the national rate every year since at least 2010.

Accidental deaths increased the most over the same 10-year period: In 2010, there were approximately 40 deaths per 100,000 people in Maine that were ruled an accident and by 2020, that rate had more than doubled, to 85 accidental deaths per 100,000 people.

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