Opioid Crisis Triggering Increase In Organ Donations
There has been an increase in the amount of organ donations from opioid addicts.
In Louisiana, there has been a 40 percent increase in the last two years. Louisiana Organ Procurement Association spokesperson Kirsten Heintz says the opioid crisis is now colliding with another health crisis. That of the need for life saving organs. It all starts with the decision to donate, which might come from surviving family members.
"If they are later pronounced brain dead, they may have the potential to save others through organ donation."
There is a concern among some that getting an organ from an opioid addicted person, that the medicine would be transferred to the person obtaining the donation. Heintz says there are plenty of precautions in place to ensure the organs are drug-free.
"They want to make sure those drugs are out of their system first before brain death is declared. Once an organ is recovered, the blood is flushed from the organ before it goes into the recipient."
There are nearly 21-hundred recipients on the list who need a donation in Louisiana. Heintz says there aren’t enough organ donors to fill the need. If you want to become an organ donor, she says it would be good to discuss your wishes with your family.
"Let the family know that there's an opportunity for their loved one to be a donor and have a conversation with them and let them know what they may be able to help with."