Lori Blankenship knows her son made bad decisions. But just weeks after his fatal drug overdose about a month ago, she was reminded of a good choice he made.
He had registered as an organ donor.
Luis Burks' kidneys and liver went to three people, and his lungs were given to research, putting him in a donor category that is growing faster than any other.
One in 11 deceased organ donors across the country last year had a history of injecting drugs and died of a drug overdose, a rate that has more than tripled in less than a decade. It's closer to one in six in Maryland.
That means Maryland has "one of the highest rates in the country," said Charles Alexander, president and CEO of the Living Legacy Foundation, which coordinates organ donations across much of the state. "It's sadly reflective of the epidemic." Continue reading
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