Kentucky officials have partnered with the state's two largest universities to handle the increasing number of autopsy requests because of the opioid epidemic.
Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary John Tilley said the state medical examiner's office is partnering with the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville. The office's nine doctors will have the option of becoming university employees, a move that would come with a pay increase. Tilley said the model will let the state hire an additional doctor.
Autopsy requests have jumped more than 18 percent since 2013. Of those, overdose death autopsy cases have increased more than 35 percent. Kentucky's overdose deaths increased more than 39 percent during that same time period.
Tilley said the problem has been compounded by a national shortage of forensic pathologists.