1 in 11 Organ Donors Died of Drug Overdose Last Year

A New Orleans style funeral procession follows the hearse carrying the casket of Chris Smith of the rap duo Kris Kross, after his funeral service, Thursday, May 9, 2013, in Atlanta. The 34-year-old Kelly... (AP Photo/David Goldman)
NEWSER | Elizabeth Armstrong Moore

(NEWSER) – As the number of Americans dying of drug overdoses continues to rise—thanks in large part to an opioid epidemic—so too has the number of organ donors. In fact, the percentage of donors who died of overdoses has nearly tripled since 2006, according to data gathered by the United Network for Organ Sharing

If you look back as far as 2000, it's jumped from just 1.1% to 9.3% of all deceased donors. The increase has been "huge," one expert tells US News & World Report. "It's a silver lining to what is absolutely a tragedy." The network estimates that more than 121,000 people are waiting for a life-saving transplant today, while the Guardian reports that 22 people die every day on the wait list. And it's no wonder; in 2015, organs were only recovered from 9,080 deceased donors, with 848 of those donors having died of an overdose. Continue reading
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