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01:09 - Source: CNN

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13.4% of organ donors in 2017, up from 1.1% in 2000, died by overdose, a study finds

"Underutilization of organs from these donors still occurs," one expert says

CNN  — 

As the opioid epidemic has skyrocketed in the United States, a rise in the number of drug overdose deaths has contributed to a rise in organ transplants, made possible by overdose-death donors, across the country.

A study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine on Monday now reveals just how much of an increase there has been in the number of overdose-death donors, from being only 1.1% of all donors in 2000 to 13.4% in 2017.

The study suggests that a rise in organ donations from drug overdose deaths could help America’s organ shortage – but it also shows that between 2000 and 2017, many organs from overdose-death donors were not used to save lives when they could have been.