GBI expanding morgue to handle heroin death spike

Heroin deaths max out morgue

DECATUR, Ga. -- The heroin epidemic is spreading resources thin for law enforcement in Georgia.

According to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the number of heroin-related overdose deaths has doubled year-over-year two times in a row - going from 32 in 2013 to 134 in 2015.

"We're dealing with a huge majority of those drug overdoses here at this lab," said Nelly Miles with the GBI. "We are completely maxed out on a daily basis."

The GBI gave 11Alive a tour of the current morgue, which they say is filled. The current construction, which started in September, will add fives times the room to store bodies during death investigations.

Right now, the morgue can handle 20 bodies. Once the $6.5 million project is complete investigators will be able to hold 100.

"Here in the crime lab we've seen the trend and it's spiking through the years," Miles said.

The GBI handles death investigation for 153 of the 159 counties in the state.

Most metro-Atlanta counties handle their own.

The GBI is also working to create a statewide database to track the number of heroin-related overdose deaths.

"For families of a loved one it brings closure to something that is very tragic," Miles said.

(© 2017 WXIA)


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