An Ohio coroner warned that his facilities could no longer handle the death toll from mounting opioid overdoses, according to the The Tribune-Review.

Montgomery County Coroner Dr. Kent Harshbarger predicted "2,900 autopsies, 2,000 of them overdoses" for 2017, cautioning that, "I can't operate at that capacity."


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The coroner said he frequently runs out of room to freeze the bodies and must send them to funeral homes or hire refrigeration trucks to tackle the overflow.

"We had 13 (bodies) yesterday, and 12 of them were overdoses," said Harshbarger, whose purview also includes about two dozen surrounding rural counties.

Opioid overdoses are a major cause of crime, and have topped car accidents as the number one cause of accidental deaths.

Overdose deaths have spiked recently due to new synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl, which are cheaper and 30-50 times stronger than heroin.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman (R) lamented the growing epidemic on "Happening Now" today.

Portman said there is a "clear federal role" to pass the STOP Act, which would require the U.S. Postal Service to report details of suspicious packages to law enforcement, something already required of private companies. 

Authorities say fentanyl is often sent into the country from China using U.S. Mail. 

"So there's an evil scientist in a laboratory somewhere cooking up this chemical mix that causes overdose and deaths," Portman said of the synthetic opioid, calling it a "dreadful situation."

Watch his reaction above.


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