Think about it: Could opioid accidental overdose deaths be funding the multi-billion dollar organ biz? Is the accidental or purposefully planned?
An unexpected consequence of the opioid crisis: The increase in drug overdose deaths is resulting in more organ donations and new hope for transplant patients in Michigan and across the nation.
In Michigan, almost 16% of the 320 donors whose organs were harvested last year died from drug overdose, according to Gift of Life Michigan, the state’s organ procurement agency. In 2012, just under 5.5% of the 261 donors died from drug overdose.
While Gift of Life isn’t able to specify what type of drugs were involved in donor deaths, the increase in donors who died from drug overdose mirrors the increase in the number of deaths from opioids. The agency and members of the medical community believe the majority of the donors who died from drug intoxication — or overdose — died from heroin or other opioids.
“There’s no question there are more organs transplanted because … of the opioid epidemic,” said liver transplant surgeon Atsushi Yoshida, associate director of transplant operations for Henry Ford Health System. He estimated that from 2016 to 2017, there has been a 20-30% increase in the number of liver transplants performed in the state.
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