Many morgues are running out of room as America’s fentanyl epidemic has risen. In 2015, there were 6,000 opioid deaths, and by 2021, the number had increased to 63,000. Of them, fentanyl was the greatest contributor.
Coroners’ offices all across the country have noted that this has been difficult to deal with.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, in Chicago, needed more room and resources. Now that COVID-19 deaths have decreased, the morgue is still in need of more rooms because of the rate that people are dying from fentanyl.
“The most common non-natural death is opioids. It’s more than our number of homicides, more than our number of traffic accidents,” said the office.
Fentanyl is said to be the greatest cause of death for 18- 45-year-olds in the U.S.
Because of this, the county doesn’t think that the deadly trend will decrease any time soon. They are still using refrigerated trailers for morgue space and can manage the bodies right now.
“The increase in 2020 has continued into 2021 and 2022. But, if it increases further, then we may have to look at additional resources,” stated one official.
Some coroner offices have had to add more money to their budgets to deal with the issue.