Angel Peak Scenic Area is located 15 miles south of Bloomfield in San Juan County, with over 10,000 acres of rugged terrain, badlands and deep canyons.
Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness (Bisti Badlands) is a 45,000-acre wilderness area full of rock formations made of sandstone, shale, mudstone, and silt.
The Aztec Ruins National Monument, on 318 acres, consists of dwellings and sacred structures built by Ancient Pueblo Indians in the 12th and 13th Centuries.
The eggs and hoodoos in the Bisti Wilderness were formed in sand and silt revealed 73 million years ago when the Western Interior Seaway receded.
Shiprock (Tsé Bitʼaʼí, "rock with wings") is a 27 million year old volcanic rock formation, designated as a National Natural Landmark, rising 1,583 feet above the desert.
The San Juan River is a 383 mile long major tributary of the Colorado River and a primary drainage for the Four Corners.
The La Plata Mountains, seen from San Juan County, are a small subrange of the San Juan Mountains in sw Colorado, and includes Hesperus Mountain at 13,332 feet.
Navajo Lake is a 3800 feet long and 400 feet deep reservoir located in northeastern San Juan County, created from a dam completed in 1962.

Deaths of Despair

The phrase "deaths of despair" was coined by two Princeton economists attempting to understand why the life expectancy in the U.S. was decreasing, as opposed to keeping pace with other wealthy countries. They found that the fastest rising death rates among Americans were from drug overdoses, suicide, and alcohol attributable deaths. In combination, these three components are referred to as "deaths of despair."

A study by the Well Being Trust and the Robert Graham Center for Policy Studies in Family Medicine and Primary Care predicted that an additional 75,000 people will likely die across the U.S. from “deaths of despair” due to the social and economic consequences following the pandemic. According to the report, New Mexico is among the states with the highest rates of deaths of despair, which in 2020 was 110.0 deaths per 100,000 (NM IBIS).

In 2020 in San Juan County, there were 189 deaths of despair (deaths due to suicide, alcohol, or drug overdose). This represented 12% of all the deaths in the county. San Juan County’s "deaths of despair" rate in 2020 was 166.7, significantly above New Mexico and the U.S.


The rate of "deaths of despair" have increased dramatically over the past 10 years. The trends graph below shows the contribution and relative increase for each component.  In San Juan County, the increase in alcohol-attributable deaths is a primary contributor to the overall increase.

Components of Deaths of Despair

The three charts below show the comparative rates for San Juan County, New Mexico and the U.S. for each of the three components that make up the overall "deaths of despair." The alcohol-induced death rate in San Juan County is twice the state rate and six times the national rate. (See data sources below and data notes below for an explanation of what is included in the 100% alcohol induced rate.)
The source for the trends data for Suicide, Drug Overdose and Overall Deaths of Despair are form the New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-based Information System (NM-IBIS):

The trend data for Alcohol Induced deaths, as well as all comparative data are from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Wide-ranging ONline Data for Epidemiologic Research (WONDER), Detailed Mortality Files:

Note that CDC and NM-IBIS rates may vary slightly due to different population estimates used in rate calculations.
Alcohol-induced deaths include only those deaths which are directly attributable to alcohol, such as alcoholic liver disease, alcohol poisoning, and alcoholism. It does not include, for example, injury deaths for which alcohol was a contributing factor, which are included in the alcohol-related deaths (see Alcohol-Related Death).

For more information, see Alcohol-Related ICD Codes:

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