West Virginia is Running Out of Money to Bury Overdose Victims
The opioid epidemic continues
West Virgina’s drug problem is so out of hand that the state’s Indigent Burial Program has already used nearly all of its funding for this fiscal year. The accounts won’t be replenished until June 30, 2017.
At this time West Virginia currently ranks the highest in the country for overdose deaths, with over 33,000 individuals in the state reported to have died from opioid addiction in 2015 alone.
— travis lupick (@tlupick) March 7, 2017
This year the state has already seen some 1,508 burials submitted for payment through the Indignant Burial Program, which was put into place to help cover expenses in special cases in which the deceased’s family were either unwilling or unable to pay for funeral costs.
West Virginia has currently sets aside about $2 million a year for this service, offering funeral homes the modest sum of $1,250 per person. Until the end of this June, the state only has enough funding to cover 63 additional burials, according to Allison Adler, a spokesman for the state’s Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary Bill Crouch.
Th Indignant Burial Program program has been around for decades, but this isn’t the first time it’s found itself in this situation. They began to operate on slim margins in 2013, running out of funds in June of 2014 and in March of the following year.
Overdoses constitute more than three out of every 100 fatalities in West Virginia.