PETERS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — We’ve been reporting on the staggering number of overdoses deaths amid an opioid epidemic. But now, a new perspective. A funeral home director shares his story.
“You get emotional,” said Scott Beinhauer, from Beinhauer Family Funeral Homes.
He says you can’t help but be affected by the number of young people dying from the opioid epidemic.
“Everybody affects me emotionally, but a young person, you know, I’ve got three girls – 16, 13 and 8,” said Beinhauer. “And I’ve cared for families that have lost 16-year-olds, 13-year-olds.”
He says the number of overdose deaths is a major change since he started in the business 25 years ago. The biggest jump, in the last five years.
“The number of families and that increase, I don’t think we were prepared for that,” he said.
He says he has not had to add staff to deal with the increase but suspects other funeral homes have.
Earlier this week, a coroner in Dayton, Ohio, reported that he literally ran out of room for bodies because of all the opioid deaths.
The rise in overdose deaths in Allegheny County is alarming.
There were 227 in 2010, but 613 last year. That number now exceeds murders, suicides, and car crashes combined.
In April, Allegheny County Medical Examiner Dr. Karl Williams told our news partners at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that overdose deaths are putting a strain on his office. So much so pathologists can no longer complete full autopsies on every suspected overdose.
KDKA spoke with Beinhauer at their location in Peters Township, which is in Washington County where the problem is also frightening.
There were 33 overdose deaths in Washington County in 2014, but that number jumped to 109 in 2016.
As part of that, there are parents burying their adult children.
“Which is not the natural sequence of how life supposed to play out,” said Beinhauer. “You don’t plan to bury your children.”
However, he doesn’t see the problem going away anytime soon.
“It’s so easy to get, and there’s so much of it out there,” Beinhauer said.