LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- How bad is Kentucky’s overdose problem?
So bad, the Fayette County coroner wants another deputy coroner hired just to handle the problem.
The Fayette County coroner says the workload for him and his deputies has increased exponentially over the past decade and he says it is directly related to the opioid epidemic.”
“It used to be that it was unusual if you went on an overdose dead but now it’s kind of like, ‘you’re not going on an overdose death?” said Garry Ginn, the Fayette County coroner.
Ginn says things have changed a lot for the coroner’s office since he started back in the early 2000’s.
“Our total deaths in 2007, as far as overdoses, was 53. Last year they were 179,” said Ginn.
That’s a 191% increase in overdose deaths in Fayette County alone, something Ginn says his small staff of ten can barely keep up with.
“Right now when we have a deputy that is off sick or vacation or any time that they have to take off for court to testify then really there’s no one to pick up the slack,” said Ginn.
That’s why Ginn asked the urban county council to give the coroner’s office a bigger budget to hire two additional employees.
“In order to not have to rush, not have to worry about death certificates waiting to be signed and not able to be signed because they haven’t completed their investigation part of it,” said Ginn.
In its meeting Tuesday, the council chose not to approve Ginn’s budget for two new employees instead recommended the hiring of just one new employee.
Still, Ginn says he’s happy his office will most likely be getting some relief.
“Because that’s going to take away several cases from each deputy. T hat’s going to free up their time,” said Ginn.
The urban county council is expected to have its final vote on the budget on June 12th.
The next fiscal year begins July 1st.