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Organ donations reaches record high in Maryland, nation as opioid deaths rise

The Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland, the nonprofit group that manages organ donation in the state, said 2016 was a record year for organ donation and transplants.

The increase was mirrored nationally, as the United Network for Organ Sharing also reported a record number of transplants last year.

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In Maryland, transplants rose by 25 percent – organs from 188 donors were given to 467 recipients. There were more than 33,600 transplants nationally last year.

Officials said the growth reflects the generosity and compassion of donors and families, but also the grim increase in fatal opioid overdoses. The number of donors who died of an overdose almost doubled in the past year in Maryland. In 2016, one of four donors died of an overdose, up from one in six in 2015.

Nationally, the increase was from one in 11 to one in eight.

Those who wish to be donors can register through the Motor Vehicle Administration or online at www.donatelifemaryland.org.

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