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Now, the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office is so crammed with corpses that it has asked a local funeral parlor to take in four bodies for “temporary storage,” the first time it has had to make such a request, Kenneth M. Betz, director of the coroner’s office, said on Thursday.

“We’re running at full capacity,” he said in a phone interview. “We’ve never experienced this volume of accidental drug overdoses in our history. We now call funeral homes immediately” to ask if there is space available, he added.

Widespread abuse of powerful opioid pain relievers in the United States — including oxycodone, hydrocodone, hydromorphone and fentanyl, heroin’s cheaper but deadlier cousin — has driven overdose death rates to historic highs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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