Organ donors hit record high for 5th consecutive year

The number of organ donors reached a record high in 2017, which many officials attribute to the rising number of opioid-related deaths, according to CNN.

There were 16,462 organ donors — both living and deceased — in 2017, up 3 percent from the previous year and 27 percent since 2007. Of those donors, 13 percent died from drug overdoses.

"About 40 percent of the increase [in the past five years] tracks back to the drug intoxication issue," David Klassen, MD, the United Network for Organ Sharing's chief medical officer, told CNN. Dr. Klassen did not know which drugs contributed to those overdoses, but he suspected opioids.

"We don't have the data ... to absolutely say that with certainty, but I think [opioids are] a reasonable assumption," he said.

In 2013, 560 donors died from drug overdose, while 1,367 donors died of the same cause in 2017.

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