The alarming fentanyl epidemic throughout the nation has been the source of major concern with an impact that has trickled down to major other areas—and that now includes U.S. morgues. According to new reports, morgues across the country are reportedly running out of space to house bodies due to the rise in fentanyl overdoses.
@NYPost reports, in 2021 alone, there were more than 63,000 overdose deaths related to fentanyl, which is now causing a serious problem for morgues nationwide. Many coroner’s offices in the U.S. (including Indianapolis and Chicago) reportedly say that as the death tolls from fentanyl continue to pile up, they are simply running out of space to put the bodies. Cook County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Ponni Arunkumar explained just how disturbing the fentanyl overdose rate has become. “The most common non-natural death is opioids, it’s more than our number of homicides, more than our number of traffic accidents.”
Additionally, although many morgues made the necessary adjustments to account for more space during the COVID-19 pandemic, those accommodations are not enough, as the fentanyl epidemic is growing at a faster rate than many experts ever intended. Morgues are now scrambling to find ways to keep up with the body count. “The increase in 2020 has continued into 2021 and 2022 but if it increases further, then we may have to look at additional resources,” Dr. Arunkumar said.
As a temporary solution, several morgues have continued to use refrigerated trailers to house the influx of bodies—but at some point, they will require more room. This leads to budget concerns, as adding on space leaves the morgues with tough financial decisions to make.
The Cook County coroner’s office also released the tragic statistics that fentanyl-related deaths have tripled within the last 7 years, going from 675 to 2,000 throughout the last 12 months.