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Tipsheet

A Seattle Morgue Is Running Out of Room for Fentanyl Overdose Victims

Twitter/Port Director Michael W. Humphries

A morgue in Seattle, Washington is reportedly running out of space for the bodies of people who pass away from fentanyl overdoses. 

According to KOMO News, the Seattle-King County morgue is regularly surpassing its available space because of the overdoses. 

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Dr. Faisal Kahn, the director of Public Health Seattle and King County, said that preliminary data shows 2022 will set a “heartbreaking record” for overdose deaths, particularly among the homeless population.

“Much of it is driven by fentanyl unfortunately. People do not realize they are taking fentanyl because it can be made to look like cocaine or prescription pills," Kahn reportedly told the King County Board of Health (KOMO News):

Health department data shows 1,017 total overdose death in King County in 2022, a 43% increase over 2021 when the county recorded 709 overdose deaths. For comparison, in 2013 the King County Health Department registered 318 overdose deaths.

"We have options for temporary morgue surge capacity when our census count gets high, including storing decedents on autopsy gurneys and partnerships with funeral homes. We’re exploring longer-term options for adding more capacity," King County Public Health officials wrote in a statement to KOMO. “While the increase in fatal overdoses is a driving factor in our morgue capacity issue, it’s not the only source. Even prior to the recent rise in fatal overdoses we were facing capacity issues due to the increased volume of deaths in conjunction with King County’s rapid population growth."

The county maintains a public overdose data dashboard on its website, which includes fentanyl overdose trends. In 2022, an average of 57 people died in King County from fentanyl overdoses each month.

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According to King 5, at least 35 people have died from fentanyl-related overdoses since the beginning of 2023.

The New York Post noted that Khan anticipated that the city’s 2022 fentanyl death count will be “more than triple” the amount three years ago. And last month, the Drug Enforcement Agency said that it seized enough fentanyl to kill every American in 2022. The fentanyl doses are “primarily trafficked by the Mexican Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels.”

Last month, Townhall reported how a baby “barely survived” after ingesting fentanyl at a playground in San Francisco. It is unknown how the baby came into contact with the substance. But, a firefighter who came to the scene recognized the signs of an overdose and administered Narcan to the child before he was transported to the hospital.

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