Ohio is poised to hit more than double last year's annual total of overdose-related deaths. The Montgomery County Coroner's office has already recorded 145 cases just one month into 2017.
The pressure on the County Coroner, however, is mounting. It is running out of room for bodies.
The same spike in overdose-related deaths is also seen in Clark County, while the Springfield Regional Medical Center (SRMC) reported the same pattern of rising cases of drug overdose.
Cuyahoga County also had its share of overload: 517 cases in 2016, which almost doubled the 2015 figure.
Spike In Overdose Deaths Straining Facilities, Medicine Supply
With overdose-related deaths rising in Ohio, there is much strain on the state's resources, both in terms of facilities and medicine.
Dr. Kent Harshbarger, county coroner in Montgomery, said his office had expanded its facilities by adding 12 more spaces in their refrigerators but found these were "not enough" with the uptick of deaths due to drug overdose.
The coroner plans to rent spaces in funeral homes to meet the overload.
In Clark County, drug overdose cases averaged five or six in a day. The number, according to the county's Health Commissioner Charles Patterson, could be higher if those who refused medical attention after being revived by first responders are included.
On Jan. 27, for instance, there were 50 drug overdose cases in SRMC.
This prompted Clark County's health department to seek help from the state for the supply of overdose reversing drugs. The supply of overdose reversing drug naloxone is running low, but the state health department has vowed to help.
Ohio Drug Overdose Causes: Fentanyl And Heroin?
The increasing number of drug overdose deaths in the state is traced to fentanyl and heroin, Harshbarger said.
Fentanyl is a potent, synthetic pain reliever used among cancer patients. It is 50 times more powerful than heroin and up to 100 times than morphine. The analgesic has been widely used as synthetic opioid with record 1,700 kilograms (approx. 3,740 pounds) sold in 2013 despite its life-threatening side effects.
Some opioid deaths were due to wrong usage of fentanyl instead of heroin. Users may have been taking the drugs in their usual dose without knowing it was fentanyl.
Ohio has invested close to $1 billion annually to address the crisis, but the cases of accidental overdoses continue to climb. The state recorded some 3,050 lives lost due to drug-related overdoses in 2015, which was 20 percent higher than in 2014.
It could not yet be ascertained if the law signed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich last month to combat drug addiction in the state would ebb the tide. The measure requires, among others, pharmacy professionals to register with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy and put a cap on opiate prescriptions.