With Increase In Overdose Deaths, Coroner Needs Help

Posted at 2:45 PM, Jun 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-07 14:45:13-04

LEXINGTON, Ky (LEX 18) As the opioid crisis rages on in Kentucky, the effects are being felt every day. The Fayette County Coroner is now asking for more help due to the large number of overdose deaths they are working. 

As a coroner, Gary Ginn is no stranger to death, but over the past decade, his job has changed drastically and he says that heroin is to blame. 

Since 2007, Ginn says that opioid deaths have steadily increased going from just 53 overdose deaths in Fayette County that year, to 179 in 2017. That is a 191% increase all with the same 10 member staff.

"Let’s take 2007, we had 567 cases that we worked total and in 2017, we’re now at 836 and most of those are due to the overdoses we’re having," he said. 

The increase is why Ginn is asking the Fayette Urban County Council to approve a budget to allow for more help in their office. 

"The average caseload for a deputy was 78 and now it’s 139," he said. 

Ideally, Ginn would like to add two more deputy coroners to staff, but he says it is more likely they’ll receive the money for just one. Ginn said that they’ll take whatever help they can get, knowing that their work is unlikely to decrease.

"We’re just thankful the mayor and the council are helping us out," he said. 

The Fayette Urban County Council will have their final vote on the budget on June 12.