HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork) — The Chief Medical Examiner for the State of Connecticut said his agency is hundreds of thousands of dollars in the hole, and he knows why — the opioid epidemic.

As WCBS-880’s Sean Adams reported, it was a budgetary address that highlighted a public health crisis.

Connecticut’s Chief Medical Examiner told lawmakers his office needs more money. Autopsies are up 64 percent over three years due — in large part — to drug overdose deaths caused by heroin and pain pills.

Dr. James Gill explained that the synthetic opioid fentanyl is causing more and more people to overdose.

“The fentanyl is much more potent than heroin, and generally that means that they have to put in less into the packet to get the same effect, but because it is so potent, it is very difficult to measure and get that right,” he said.

In 2016, there were 917 overdose deaths in Connecticut, a 25 percent increase from 2015. The medical examiner’s office is short $300,000 and still needs to hire two forensic pathologists to keep pace.


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