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Opioid crisis makes more organs available

(NBC News) America’s opioid epidemic has one sad upside: more organs available for lifesaving transplants, researchers reported Wednesday.

Close to 14 percent of people who donated an organ in 2016 had died of a drug overdose, the team of experts reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. That compares to just 1 percent in 2000.

The numbers still are not large. In 2000, 59 organ donors had died of drug overdoses, compared to 1,029 in 2016.