Franklin County Coroner & Prosecutor asking for more funds to battle opioid crisis
Franklin County's Prosecutor and Coroner are asking for more money to be included in their budgets for next year to stop the infestation of opioids in the community.
"it's not really slowing down at this point," said Franklin County Coroner Anahi Ortiz, "at the end of September, we already were at the same amount of drug overdoses for all of 2016."
With Franklin County on track to see 500 drug overdose deaths in 2017, Ortiz is planning to request an additional $500,000 in next year's budget to hire an additional Pathologist, Forensic Technician/Morgue Technician, and Forensic Technician/Medico-legal Death Investigator.
"Everything is backed up," said Ortiz, who says reports results are now taking up to 12-weeks, when they usually were able to be done within 8-10 weeks.
Ortiz also tells ABC 6/FOX 28 she is requesting more monies for Pathologist salaries, who she says are making a lot less than pathologists in neighboring states.
"if we bring salary up to the average of other states, I might be able to attract someone," she said.
Ortiz says Pathologists in Franklin County currently make an average of $160,000 per year, compared to $180,000 in West Virginia.
Ortiz expected to present her budget proposal to County officials within the next few weeks. She is not the only Franklin County official trying to fight the opioid epidemic with additional tax money.
"we could see the heroin and pill problem starting to emerge," said Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien.
O'Brien says he has asked for more money to hire an additional staff member to work in the County's Drug Court.
"the number of cases being referred to drug court has increased as the drug charges have increased," said O'Brien.
Both politicians say the extra money is desperately needed to wipe out the opioid crisis in the community.
"We are not prepared for all theses folks that need treatment and those that are dying," said Ortiz.