Organ transplants surge in B.C. because of fentanyl-overdose deaths (Dr. David Landsberg)

B.C.’s overdose epidemic, especially deaths involving fentanyl, is behind a significant increase in the number of organ transplant donors, according to a B.C. Transplant agency leader.

Experts started to see the trend six months ago when overdoses surged to record highs, said Dr. David Landsberg, provincial medical director of transplant services.

Of the 59 donor organs (from 20 donors) used in transplants in the first six weeks of this year, a quarter were from people who died of an overdose, he said. That compares to 37 organs from 10 donors transplanted in the same time period of 2016. Kidneys are the most commonly transplanted organs in B.C.

Pamela Fayerman reports

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