COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Families who lost a loved one to overdose death are uniquely supported through a program at the Franklin County Coroner’s Office.

Dr. Anahi Ortiz brings awareness to overdose deaths through a number of initiatives.

“With an increase of death from overdose of 45% from 2019 to 2020, the Franklin County Coroner Anahi Ortiz M.D. and her team see this tragedy play out at alarming rates. This work could not be more important,” Dr. Ortiz said in a social media post.

One of these is an Overdose Specialist — the only position of its kind in the country — who works with the families of those who have died of overdoses, before the case is closed. The specialist provides families with resources for treatment, support, and Narcan.

“Our commitment is to honor those who lives have been lost, to bring comfort and support to their families, and to serve our community by providing relevant and accurate data to support and inform the work being done in our community and across the country to alleviate this crisis,” Dr. Ortiz said in her post.

In addition to the Overdose Specialist, the coroner’s office said in the post that it had initiated several approaches to addressing opioid deaths:

  • Creates an overdose fatality review to provide data on the manner of death
  • Shares surge data for the good of the community within legal boundaries
  • Continues to work with Franklin County Public Health to focus on the addiction crisis
  • Gathering statistics so that the community understands addiction and ways to combat it