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The easy availability and low price of heroin in Racine County has led to a climbing number of deaths and the limit of the county’s autopsy budget.

Because Racine County lacks the facilities to perform autopsies, bodies are transported to Milwaukee. Medical Examiner Michael Payne told FOX 6 News that it costs $1,500 per procedure plus a $250 transport fee, and the spike in overdose deaths has nearly doubled since 2010; from 48 to 78 in 2013, respectively.

The number of heroin deaths has also nearly doubled during the same time period. This year so far, Payne has requested 80 autopsies when the budget only allows for 78.

“With more aggressive pursuits by law enforcement to go after people responsible for the deaths in heroin, a complete autopsy is necessary to determine that is the exact cause of the decedent`s death,” Payne is quoted as saying.

The Racine County Sheriff hosted a heroin summit in May to underline the growing problem of heroin throughout the county, and Caledonia recently hosted a public meeting to discuss how heroin use impacts every corner of the community. A heroin and opiate support group has also been established and meets every Thursday at 3 p.m.

Payne told FOX 6 that Racine County is not really all that different when it comes to heroin deaths.

“Like all the other counties in southeastern Wisconsin, we’re dealing with heroin deaths,” he said.


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