Doctor thinks heroin overdoses driving increase in organ donations

Heroin and methamphetamine sit on the trunk of a sheriff car after the Marion County Sheriff Department served a warrant on a suspect for possession of a firearm, strangulation, confinement and allegedly putting a gun to his sisters head during her shift on Thursday, August 13, 2015.(Photo: Matt Detrich/The Star)

INDIANAPOLIS — Organ donations across Indiana are up, and a local doctor thinks it could be due to the rise in heroin overdoses.

Dr. Tim Taber, with IU Health, told FOX59 the rise has become noticeable.

"We’ve seen, in Indiana, our donor numbers go up by about 30 a year and I think a lot of that is because of the heroin overdoses," Taber said.

Overdosing on the drug does not effect the viability of organs.

"The reason people die of heroin overdoses is they stop breathing. It suppresses their respiratory centers, but it doesn’t hurt their organs," Taber said.

Three years ago, Amy Hunter's 21-year-old son Jake Meyer died of an overdose, and she said it was an easy decision to donate his organs.

"Jake got his driver’s license the year before he died simply because he wanted to be an organ donor, and he was really proud of it," Hunter said.

She wasn't surprised to hear about overdoses leading to such a tragic reason for an increase in donations. Continue reading
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