Trevor Schakohl on January 24, 2023
King County, Washington’s Medical Examiner’s Office often runs out of storage room for dead bodies due to increasing fentanyl-related deaths, Seattle & King County Public Health Director Dr. Faisal Khan said Thursday, according to KTTH.
The Seattle-led county surpassed its 2021 drug overdose death total within the first 9.5 months of 2022, with 70% of the confirmed deaths involving fentanyl, according to a Seattle and King County Public Health Department (KCPHD) report. The continually-climbing fentanyl-related death toll means the Medical Examiner’s Office “is now struggling with the issue of storing bodies,” regularly exceeding their finite cooler space, Khan said during a King County Board of Health meeting, KTTH reported.
“We have options for temporary morgue surge capacity when our census count gets high, including storing decedents on autopsy gurneys and partnerships with funeral homes. We’re exploring longer-term options for adding more capacity,” a KCPHD spokesperson told KTTH’s Jason Rantz Show.
A public health spokesperson said increasing fatal overdoses are “not the only source” of morgue capacity issues, according to Fox News.
“Even prior to the recent rise in fatal overdoses we were facing capacity issues due to the increased volume of deaths in conjunction with King County’s rapid population growth,” they said.
Seattle business owners previously told The Daily Caller News Foundation of drug users disrupting their businesses, with worries about theft and public safety persisting. Former Seattle firefighter Steve Collins blamed drugs for many of the city’s encampment fires, which have risen significantly in the past two years.
The DCNF contacted the KCPHD for comment.
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