Pennsylvania Coroner Says Dying Addicts Keep Morgue Full "Most Nights"

The coroner’s office in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania is literally running out of room for all the bodies that are piling up because of America’s worsening synthetic opioid epidemic, according to Triblive.com.

As the story notes, heroin isn’t responsible for these deaths; rather, Synthetic opioids like fentanyl, carfentanil and their many analogues are the chief culprit.

As Triblive reports:

 

“Lab-created, designer opioids have far outpaced heroin as a killer of addicts, and they've kept the coroner's office full on most nights.

 

"If this pace continues, I'm not really sure what we're going to do," said Montgomery County, Ohio, coroner Dr. Kent Harshbarger. "We had 13 (bodies) yesterday, and 12 of them were overdoses."

 

The county’s coroner had to expand his cooler last month because its 36-body capacity wasn’t enough. It now has room for 42 bodies, and the country still occasionally runs out of space.

“It’s full every night.”

Harshbarger even ran out of space one day earlier this year, again because of overdoses, and was forced to send some bodies to a local funeral home for storage. He also occasionally rents refrigerated trailers that can be brought in when deaths spike.

In Allegheny County, health officials, instances of fentanyl-related overdoses surpassed those of heroin for the first time in 2016. Six hundred people overdosed and died in the county last year – most from opioids, said Dr. Karen Hacker, director of the Allegheny County Health Department.

Having surpassed gun homicides for the first time in 2015, the epidemic of heroin and opioid related deaths in the US continues to grow, amid the dismal failure of the 'war on drugs.’ Lawmakers, who have only just begun to wake up to the crisis, have requested more data about the synthetic opioid fentanyl, including how it is trafficked and how many people it has killed.

The ramifications of the crisis stretch far beyond hospitals and morgues: Ohio saw a 13% increase in children in foster care last year, which officials suspect is linked to the growing number of overdose deaths.