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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Opioid Overdoses Swamp Medical Examiners

BALTIMORE — Dr. David Fowler’s staff is scrambling to keep up with the surging stream of corpses flowing through the doors.

In his 15 years as Maryland’s chief medical examiner, Fowler has seen natural disasters, train crashes and mass shootings. Heroin- and cocaine-related homicides have plagued this city for decades. But he says he’s never seen anything that compares to the opioid epidemic’s spiraling death toll. As fentanyl, carfentanil and other deadly synthetic opioids seep into the illicit drug supply, it’s only getting worse.

The recent surge in drug overdose deaths has created an unprecedented nationwide demand for autopsies and toxicology examinations, said Brian Peterson, president of the National Association of Medical Examiners, which accredits the forensic pathologists who perform death investigations.

Many medical examiners are working overtime and, in some places, they’re running out of refrigerated storage for bodies. When that happens, local officials typically borrow additional space at local funeral homes and hospitals, and in some cases, rent refrigerated trucks, he said. “Virtually every medical examiner’s office and toxicology laboratory in the U.S. has felt the impact of the opioid tsunami.”

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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

The National Guard and Army have some very nice mobile refrigerated units. Give the Governor a call. There's no sense in paying twice, unless your cousin is in the refrigerated storage business.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't come close to the alcohol related deaths.

Anonymous said...

2:50:

If not now - then very soon.
Opioid addiction is THE most serious drug problem this country has ever seen - or will see shortly.
Why?
Because like weed, it crosses all classes. The only difference (and it's a huge difference) is that it is deadly. Deadly and highly addictive.
In the past few years I personally know of four friends that would NEVER do any type of drugs become addicted to oxy. All four had to go to the streets after the 'script ran out.
One has died. One beat the addiction. Two are still on heroin.
All four were upstanding, hardworking members of the community, and became addicted after an accident and surgery.
The medical profession is making a killing prescribing these painkillers.
This country better wake up and take control.
It's that serious.