B.C. Transplant says it’s seeing record numbers of organ donors but with that increase, the number of people testing positive for illicit drugs is also up.
Provincial Operations Director for B.C. Transplant Ed Ferre says in 2013 organs were retrieved from 67 donors, only five tested for illicit drugs.
But in the last two years, those numbers have skyrocketed, in 2015, 12 out of 95 donors tested positive and in 2016 22 of 97 donors.
“In 2015 about 12 per cent of our donors had positive drug screens and in 2016 about 22 per cent of organ donors had positive drug screens.”
READ MORE: Organ donations hit new high in B.C.
But Ferre says it’s too early to tell if those statistics are related to the overdose crisis the province is facing.
“When the hospital tests for drugs they break it down into cocaine, opioids and so on. But some hospitals don’t do the further testing for fentanyl. But at this point in time, we can’t draw any direct correlations.”
Ferre says B.C. transplant will be looking at 2017 data closely to see if a link can be made between the number of overdose deaths and increase in donors.