Overdose deaths overwhelm medical examiner, coroner offices


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Medical examiner and coroner offices nationwide are overwhelmed by soaring overdose deaths, a shortage of forensic pathologists and other issues.

That’s causing body storage problems and lengthy delays in autopsies and toxicology testing.

The Connecticut medical examiner’s office has considered renting a refrigerated truck to store extra bodies. The Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, medical examiner’s office sometimes has to put bodies on cots because it runs out of gurneys.

The Hamilton County, Ohio, coroner’s office in Cincinnati has a 100-day backlog of DNA testing for police drug investigations largely because of increased overdose deaths.

A record 47,055 people died from drug overdoses in the U.S. in 2014, according to the latest figures from the federal government. Reports from across the country indicate overdoses continue to increase.

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