Overdose deaths strain Butler County morgue

Posted at 8:24 PM, Apr 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-28 20:24:04-04

HAMILTON, Ohio -- Overdose deaths are to blame for crowded morgues in Greater Cincinnati. In Butler County, the coroner's office is finding a way to deal with the overflow of bodies.

Drug overdoses killed 192 people in Butler County last year.

Butler County Coroner Dr. Lisa Mannix said her office has a mass fatality plan in place to deal with overdose deaths.

"Certainly that wasn't what the original mass fatality plans were for, but certainly those encompass epidemics and we have an epidemic," Mannix said.

Part of the plan is preparing for more bodies in the morgue.

"We are always looking for creative opportunities, whether it's to utilize funeral homes, or some of the coroner's offices have had to bring in the refrigerated trucks for additional storage," Mannix said.

The Fairfield Fire Department donated five EMS cots that it is no longer using. Fire Chief Don Bennett said he was more than happy to help.

"Ironically, the one agency we oftentimes overlook is the impact of the coroner's office in the various counties," he said. "Those that lose their life to an overdose eventually end up there."

The numbers won't be released for another week or two, but the first quarter of 2017 could be one of the worst Butler County has ever seen, officials said.