REPORT: Organ transplants increase by 24-fold from opioid overdose deaths, study shows

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Organs harvested from patients who died of a drug overdose are safe and effective for transplant patients, researchers wrote in a medical journal on Monday. As the the opioid epidemic continues its toll on human lives, organ donation has increased by 24-fold over a 16-year period.

Organ transplants increased from 149 in 2000 to 3,533 in 2017, one of the positive byproducts associated with the nation’s ongoing and devastating opioid epidemic.

It is important to note that the article goes on to state the following:

Published in the journal the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found that organ donations from overdose deaths had similar outcomes for patients who received organs from a patient who died a traumatic death, the more typical organ donation route.

Concerns over infections and hepatitis-C, which is more common in drug and intravenous drug users, led to an “excess discard” of viable organs that should be minimized, researchers said.

People in need of transplants outpace what is available. In 2017, there were 120,000 patients on national waitlists but only 10,281 donors, the authors wrote.

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