The increases are a result of the opiate epidemic. Last year, about 349 people died of accidental overdoses in Montgomery County, which was the deadliest year yet for drug-related deaths.
Overdose deaths have exploded across the region. Montgomery County had 54 suspected fatal overdoses in January alone. As of May 16, there have already been about 300 overdose deaths.
RELATED: Coroner investigates 145 suspected overdose deaths
Drug deaths come with costs for taxpayers.
The coroner had to redesign its main cooler for more short-term storage to create more space for bodies, which officials said was in large part related to the fatal drug overdose epidemic.
The coroner had to put multiple bodies in temporary storage at a local funeral parlor. The coroner and crime lab budget for this year was $8.1 million.
RELATED: Bodies pile up at county morgue
The new, full-time investigator positions could be temporary. The coroner may reduce staffing if the death caseload gets under control.
Montgomery County Administrator Joe Tuss said he’s confident that the county’s strategy for addressing the opioid crisis, along with state and local efforts, will lead to fewer overdose deaths.
“I think we are going to be able to make progress on this particular issue,” Tuss said.