Young overdoses provide surge in organ donations
As the opioid crisis continues to cut lives short all across the country, there has been a grim silver lining as the number of organ donations have increased.
As reported by WISC Madison, there were more than 10,000 deceased organ donors last year, a 3% increase over the previous year and a 27% jump since 2007. More than 1,300 of those donors, or 13%, died from drug overdoses.
“About 40% of the increase (in the past five years) tracks back to the drug intoxication issue,” said Dr. David Klassen, the network’s chief medical officer.
Although the data didn’t determine which drugs contributed to those overdoses, Klassen said opioids were probably involved. “We don’t have the data … to absolutely say that with certainty, but I think that’s a reasonable assumption.”
In the past five years, the number of deceased organ donors increased 24%, while the number of donors who died of drug overdose jumped 144%. In 2013, just 560 donors had died from drug overdose or intoxication; last year, there were 1,367.
In fact, Klassen noted that people who died of overdoses are usually good candidates for organ donation. “They tend to be younger and tend not to have the burdens of diseases associated with aging,” he said.
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