The overwhelming amount of deaths, mainly due to drug overdoses of opioid painkillers and injectable drugs, has caused the indigent burial program in West Virginia to be nearly exasperated.
One of the most noticeable instances in which drug overdose played a huge role in multiple deaths happened in the city of Huntington, West Virginia. In this city of 49,000, authorities responded to 26 heroin overdose cases in one four-hour span.
West Virginia differs greatly from other states as their statewide policy provides funding, up to $1,250, to poor and needy families who are financially unable to correctly bury their loved ones. This funding normally only comes from the specific city or town budget in which the family resides, but in West Virginia the coverage is provided at the state level. The state budgets about $2 million a year, and this money is nearly gone!
"1,508 burials have been submitted for payment through the Indigent Burial Program,” according to Allison Adler, a spokesman for state DHHR Secretary Bill Crouch. “There are funds remaining for 63 additional burials.” This is not the first time the budget has been depleted, it also happened in 2014 and 2015, and the same fate seems to be approaching in the month of June. Different media outlets such as The Washington Post and the Charleston Gazette-Mail have contacted numerous funeral directors. The overwhelming majority of them contribute the rise in death to drug overdoses as well.
According to The Washington Post, “West Virginia expects a half a billion budget shortfall in the next fiscal year, making relief from the state unlikely.”
Drugs have been plaguing the lives of more than those in West Virginia, but every family should be able to correctly put their loved ones to rest.