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World

AFP
May 18, 2018

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Overdoses nearing car crashes as top source of US organ donation

Overdoses nearing car crashes as top source of US organ donation

WASHINGTON: Overdose deaths in the United States are fast catching up with car crashes as a source of organ donations, an unexpected consequence of the opioid crisis in North America, experts said Wednesday. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine confirmed what organ donation networks have been noticing for years — a steady uptick in organs available as a result of drug abuse. In the year 2000, organs were donated from 59 people who had overdosed nationwide. By 2016, the number had soared to 1,029. By comparison, 1,356 donors died in car accidents that same year. Deaths from overdoses now account for 14 percent of organ donations in the United States, compared to one percent before the start of the opioid crisis considered a public health emergency by Congress and the administration of President Donald Trump. Overdoses make up about one quarter of organ donors in the hotbeds of the epidemic, such as the northeast, said David Klassen, chief medical officer at the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS).

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