AUGUSTA, Maine – Maine is dealing with so many drug overdose deaths that the state medical examiner is asking for more money to handle the workload.
The epidemic of heroin, fentanyl and other opioids is behind a record number of overdose deaths — 378 last year in Maine.
The attorney general's office, which oversees the state medical examiner, says delays in processing autopsies is straining Maine's two full-time pathologists and hampering closure for families and completion of insurance paperwork.
The office wants to waive the competitive bidding process to use $15,000 for an additional pathologist through June.
The office also received $150,000 in additional funding for toxicology screenings.
Maine isn't alone in dealing with rising overdose deaths. Several Ohio counties are using mobile cooling units to store bodies following a surge in deaths.