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posted by martyb on Tuesday February 21 2017, @08:13AM   Printer-friendly
from the higher-availability dept.

More organs have become available for transplant in British Columbia, Canada, due to a rise in drug overdoses:

After a brutal year where more than 900 people died of drug overdoses in British Columbia, doctors are pointing to one morbid upside. It might sound like something out of a dystopian horror comic, where drug users are wiped out and harvested for organs. New stats released by the health agency responsible for organ transplants show that's not exactly a far-off nightmare anymore. Health officials have noticed a significant uptick in organ donor deaths, and say that fentanyl is likely playing a role. According to BC Transplant, the number of organ donors in the first weeks of 2017 has doubled over this time last year, from 10 to 20. That's resulted in 59 transplants, up from 37 organs over the same period in 2016.

[...] "We started tracking the connection between fentanyl and organ donation more closely at the start of 2017, and fentanyl has been a contributing factor in about a quarter of our donors so far this year." BC Transplant's statement cautions against drawing conclusions based on a small amount of recent data. But long term trends show the proportion of organ donors dying from overdose has gone up steadily over many years. Back in 2013, 7.5 percent of organ donors tested positive for drugs. In 2016, that number rose to 22.7 percent.

Previously: Opioid Addiction is Big Business
Obama Administration Expands Access to Suboxone Treatment
DEA Welcomes Kratom to the Schedule I List Beginning September 30
Heroin, Fentanyl? Meh: Carfentanil is the Latest Killer Opioid
The Calm Before the Kratom Ban

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  • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Tuesday February 21 2017, @04:58PM

    by requerdanos (5997) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 21 2017, @04:58PM (#469763) Journal

    more than 900 people died of drug overdoses in British Columbia, doctors are pointing to one morbid upside.... a significant uptick in organ donor deaths, and... fentanyl is likely playing a role.

    I have a friend in western England, near Wales, who has told me stories of NHS "accidently" opiod-overdosing (she cited morphine) likely terminal, weak, and older patients (including, she says, a beloved family member). Those using the most resources with less likely healthy outcomes.

    I know that's anecdotal, and not proof, but if it's happening... Is that euthanasia? Is it murder? Or simple shortening of the hospital stay by hastening probably impending death?

    I lean toward "murder" but see the respective points of view.

    Another thing is, like BC in Canada, my home of North Carolina has lots of opiate overdoses (mostly heroin, but also things like oxycodone, dihydromorphone, fentanyl, and friends), and lots of deaths.

    I don't understand it--for which I am very glad. There's lots of heroin and pills for sale here, but despite chronic pain I am not even slightly tempted to look for some. It seems to result in death and destruction, rather than pain management.

    I'd rather just hurt; at least the pain is an old friend by now and very very unlikely to kill me.

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