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Whatcom County’s suicide rate increased in 2021 along with the number of accidental deaths

WHATCOM COUNTY, Wash. — The number of accidental deaths increased by over 20% and deaths by suicide increased 14% according to the annual report for 2021 compiled by Whatcom County Medical Examiner Gary Goldfogel.

The Medical Examiner’s office assumed jurisdiction in over 168 death investigations that involved autopsies and toxicological examinations during 2021. This compares with 140 in 2020 and 137 in 2019.

Of the 168 investigations, 33 were determined to be of natural causes, 88 accidental, 37 suicide, 3 homicide and 7 undetermined.

Heart disease accounted for 2/3 of deaths associated with natural causes with alcoholism a distant second.

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Accidental deaths were up 23% compared with 2020 and drug overdose deaths were the leading cause with over 57% of the total. Motor vehicle crashes were the second-leading cause of accidental deaths in 2021 at 20% of the total.

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