Overdose deaths double in Bartholomew County

The number of overdose deaths in Bartholomew County have more than doubled over the past year and quadrupled from 2015.

The Bartholomew County Coroner’s office says that there have already been 26 overdose deaths in 2017. Deputy Coroner Jay Frederick said that all of last year had 12 overdose deaths, while there were only six in 2015.

The numbers were presented during a County Council work session earlier this week. Coroner Clayton Nolting will be asking the County Council for a $14,016 dollar boost to his budget for the year at Tuesday’s council meeting.

He told the council that only a small portion of the needed increase comes from the increasing number of drug overdoses. Much of the increase come from an increasing number of cases where doctors call in the coroner, rather than signing a death certificate themselves.

Frederick said that in the “courtesy cases,” where the doctor signs the death certificate, there is no expense to the coroner’s office. There have been 40 of those cases so far this year.

The larger problem, Nolting said, is that this year’s budget, which he inherited from his predecessor, only budgeted for 115 coroner investigations this year. However, there were 145 total cases last year. As of Monday, the coroner’s office had already handled 132 deaths this year, Nolting said.

County Council will hear Nolting’s request when it meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Council Chambers at the Governmental Office Building at 440 Third Street.