Surging opioid deaths leads to overflow at Ohio coroner's office

The Montgomery County Coroner's Office in Dayton, Ohio has already handled 163 opioid deaths in 2017. The influx of bodies forced the office to reach out to local funeral parlors for additional storage, according to The New York Times.

The 163 body total, updated Thursday, represents more than half of the 259 deaths recorded in 2015. From January to September 2016, the office took in a total of 253 bodies killed by opioid overdoses.

"We're running at full capacity," Kenneth Betz, director of the coroner's office, told the Times. "We've never experienced this volume of accidental drug overdoses in our history."

The five states with the highest rates of drug overdose deaths in 2015 were West Virginia (41.5 per 100,000), New Hampshire (34.3 per 100,000), Kentucky (29.9 per 100,000), Ohio (29.9 per 100,000), and Rhode Island (28.2 per 100,000), according to CDC data.

Ohio is so racked with opioid abuse, police officials say they are encountering third and fourth generation users among families, according to the Times. In Cincinnati, the increase of newborns exposed to opioids spurred a policy of drug testing all new mothers and their infants at hospitals across the community.

"Our staff is, quite frankly, tired. The doctors are tired. The investigators are tired. We've never had volumes like this," Mr. Betz told the Times. "This increase from year to year — I've never seen anything like this. The drug problem we have is absolutely phenomenal."

More articles on opioids: 
MetroHealth targets opioid abuse with new office: 5 things to know 
Opioids now 'painkiller of last resort' for UK Healthcare 
Connecticut lawmakers: Dealers should be 'criminally liable' for fatal opioid overdoses

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