Morgues filled to overflowing as overdoses soar
As the opioid crisis continues to claim lives across the country, many municipalities are being overwhelmed by the number of unclaimed bodies and can’t afford to bury them.
As reported by the Daily Mail, unclaimed bodies are piling up across the US as state and local governments struggle to keep up with payments to the funeral homes that spend thousands to bury them.
A 2004 report estimated that there are 40,000 unclaimed bodies stored in morgues across the US, and experts say that number has risen dramatically in recent years in part due to the opioid crisis.
More than 115 people die from opioid overdoses each day, and the most affected populations are those in lower income groups who are less likely to leave money behind to cover burial costs.
Funeral homes across the US have been overwhelmed by the number of bodies that need to be taken care of as they shoulder the cost and wait for government reimbursement.
In 15 states, the government sets aside money each year to cover the cost of cremating and burying the deceased who left no assets behind. Other states push the financial burden down to the local level.
The number of bodies that require government funding has grown as the opioid epidemic – which claimed the lives of more than 64,000 last year – worsens.
Opiates are now the leading cause of death for adults under 50.
In West Virginia, drug overdose victims have used up nearly all the state government money budgeted for the unclaimed dead.
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To read more about how unclaimed bodies are piling up across the country, please visit the Daily Mail.