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Last year these were refrigerated trucks. Now it is “temporary storage” in funeral homes. The Coroner’s Office in Montgomery County, Ohio, has been so overwhelmed by the death toll from the raging opioid epidemic that it’s had to turn to makeshift mortuaries to keep up.

“We’re running at full throttle,” said Kenneth Betz, director of the coroner’s office The New York Times in a telephone interview. “We have never had so many accidental drug overdoses in our history. We are calling funeral homes right now,” he said.

So far in 2017 – just 33 days into the year – the Coroner’s Office has already dealt with 163 accidental overdose deaths. That’s more than half the annual overdose deaths of 2015 and 2016. In fact, the number of annual overdose deaths in Ohio has quadrupled over the past decade, surpassing the number of deaths from auto accidents.

And the state isn’t alone — in fact, it may not even be the worst off. West Virginia had the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in 2015, at 41.5 per 100,000, according to the CDC. Ohio tied for third with Kentucky, at 29.9 per 100,000. New Hampshire came in second with 34.3 per 100,000.

Those deaths and the increases are caused by widespread addiction to opioid painkillers.

The rest of the country has also seen dramatic effects from the epidemic, especially in the northeast and some in the south. The CDC reports that 91 people die of opioid overdoses every day in the US.

“This increase from year to year — I’ve never seen anything like it,” Betz said. “The drug problem we have is absolutely phenomenal.”

By akfire1

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