News & Opinion | May 26, 2017 4:43 pm

Opioid Epidemic Forcing Ohio Coroner to Rent Extra Room for Dead Bodies

Inside the ramifications of America's deadly drug overdose epidemic.

Pills spilling out of a prescription bottle.
The opioid epidemic is accelerating at unsustainable rates for one Ohio coroner's office. (Bill Diodato/Getty Images)

One coroner’s struggle to find space for dead bodies in his office underlines the terrifying acceleration of the national opioid epidemic.

Vox reported that Kent Harshbarger, a coroner in Montgomery County, Ohio, ran out of cooler space for dead bodies after 13 arrived in his office on Monday. All but one of the dead had overdosed.
“If this pace continues, I’m not really sure what we’re going to do,” Harshbarger told the Tribune-Review. “It’s full every night.”

Harshbarger, whose office handles autopsies for Montgomery County and nearby rural areas in Southwest Ohio, reportedly had to rent refrigerated trailers and funeral home space to try and keep up with the pace with the drug overdose-related deaths. He already has conducted nearly 3,000 autopsies this year, 2,000 of which are for overdoses.