More organs now available for donation due to rise in overdose deaths

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It’s the dirty little secret of organ transplantation. The organ transplant wait list is getting shorter, but one of the reasons for that is tragic.

According to a new study, more organs are available due to the rise in overdose deaths.

Currently, more than 17 percent of heart transplants are from overdose victims. One of the biggest increases has been here in the northeast.

According to New England Donor Services in 2018, 24 percent of all organ donors had died as the result of a drug overdose. A significant increase since 2010, when the portion of donors who had died as the result of an overdose was under 4 percent.

However, overdose is not the only reason for the decline of the waitlist. Other reasons include increased use of organs from donors who were Hepatitis C positive, increased use of organs from older donors, and more registered donors on driver’s licenses.

According to Brigham and Women’s Hospital from 1999 to 2016, the number of deaths due to drug intoxication has more than tripled.

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