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Rise in Number of Overdose Deaths Contributes to Major Increase in Organ Donations in 2017

Lifeline Ohio, which is the non-profit organ donation service provider for nearly half of Ohio, as well as two counties in West Virginia, has seen a drastic increase in organ donors and recipients in 2017 from previous years. The reason for record numbers stems from a sad and unfortunate cause: fatal drug overdoses in the state.

According to WLWT5, "Ohio had the nation's second-highest drug-death rate in 2016, with 4,329 fatal overdoses. A quarter of Lifeline's organ donors fatally overdosed last year, a 12 percent increase from 2016." That helped contribute to the 37% increase in the number of organ transplants that occurred.

For organ donations to be possible, the donor must be on a ventilator in a hospital and declared brain dead. Despite misconceptions, drug overdoses do not necessarily affect many organs in the body. While breathing and the heart might stop as a result of an overdose, the liver, pancreas, kidneys, and several other organs can be in perfectly good condition to go to a recipient.

WLWT5 says that "organ donations are possible in only 1 percent of deaths in the U.S. More than 3,000 Ohio residents are currently waiting for a transplant, according to the United Network for Organ Sharing."

You can read more information at Lifeline Ohio, and if you or someone you know needs help with an opiate addiction, please consider getting help.