Coroner: We can't afford all these OD deaths

Posted at 7:42 PM, Mar 31, 2016

RIPLEY COUNTY, Ind. — Greater Cincinnati’s struggle with heroin addiction does not seem to discriminate against any one particular area: It’s a widespread, persisting problem throughout the region.

But that’s not to say different areas don’t experience that impact in different ways.

Take Ripley County in southeast Indiana, where the increase in overdose deaths has increased so dramatically, officials say, that the mostly rural county can no longer afford all the autopsies necessary.

Ripley County Coroner Ron Reynolds told WCPO that he had to request more than $11,000 in additional funds for autopsies and toxicology reports prompted by overdose deaths.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Tri-State’s fight against heroin

And while county leaders approved the additional funds, Reynolds said he only sees the problem getting worse.

“Heroin, methamphetamine and other prescription pill abuses have been occurring lately,” he said.

According to Reynolds, there was a total of eight drug-related deaths in Ripley County in 2015. Now, not even into April 2016, there have already been four.

“It is very alarming to us the amount of death we have dealt with already this year,” Reynolds said. “There’s got to be a way to stop the problem, but we don’t have the answers to it.

“It’s continuing to get worse.”

Reynolds said the additional funds provided would cover about 12 autopsies.