- Associated Press - Thursday, May 26, 2016

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Public health officials say medical examiners in the Buffalo area are overwhelmed by the number of opioid overdose deaths, resulting in long delays in getting autopsy reports to the families of the deceased.

The Erie County Department of Health tells WIVB-TV (https://bit.ly/1U98Hk5 ) that it’s often taking more than three months for the medical examiner’s office to complete the reports in the cases of fatal heroin or other opioid overdoses. Officials say last year there were 256 opioid overdoses in the county, which includes the city of Buffalo. That’s twice as many as in 2014.

Dr. Gale Burstein, the county health commissioner, says fatal overdose cases can be complicated because deaths labeled “suspected chemical intoxication” require toxicology testing that can take weeks before results are known.

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