Opioid overdoses lead to spike in organ donations

VIDEO: Opioid overdoses lead to spike in organ donations
Published: Jan. 30, 2018 at 3:42 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 30, 2018 at 5:56 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - According to the CDC, 20 people die every day waiting for an organ donation.

In a sad twist of the opioid epidemic, overdoses across the country are actually adding to the number of organ donations.

"We started seeing a jump in 2015 and from 2015 to 2017," said Kirsten Heintz, Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency Marketing Director. "We had a 40 percent increase in donors from opioid overdoses."

With this increase directly related to opioid overdose deaths, the question is raised about the condition of the organs.

"They're more at risk of dying waiting for another organ than accepting an organ from an increased risk patient," Heintz said.

Doctors are finding many organs from people who overdose are in good condition because the patients are younger and don't have a lot of other diseases, so their organs are able to recover.

For more information on how to be an organ donor, visit

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