Opioid epidemic causing problems for medical examiners - WSMV News 4

Opioid epidemic causing problems for medical examiners

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“We heard the thump, and we ran in here and I started CPR," said father Perry Judkins.

Judkins tried saving his son's life after he overdosed on opioid in November, but it was too late.

Chad Judkins is now one of the latest faces in a crisis taking our nation by storm.

Now the opioid epidemic is rearing its ugly head in a new place: morgues.

In many rural areas, medical examiners are struggling to keep up and the bodies are piling up.

"Especially in the small counties they have limited resources," said Dr. Feng Li, the chief medical examiner for Davidson County.

Fortunately, that's not the case in Nashville, but Li said in Davidson County, the numbers of overdose deaths are downright disturbing.

"The numbers are doubled, or actually, more than doubled since 2011," said Li.

In 2011 there were more than 130 drug overdose deaths in Davidson County.

In 2016 that number skyrocketed to more than 300.

They're now adding an eighth pathologist.

They're also having to expand their body coolers, a significant cost to taxpayers, for a problem that only seems to be getting worse.

"People need to be aware of what's going on," said Judkins.

"This is a very, very important issue we're dealing with. We have to deal with it combined, together because only one place or one individual will not be able to deal with this huge task," said Li.

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