Can A Drug Addict Donate A Kidney or Other Organ?


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Can A Drug Addict Donate A Kidney

Transplants involving people with a history of substance abuse have led to new opportunities and questions. One of the tragic consequences of the opioid overdose crisis is the availability of more organs for those waiting for life-saving transplants. Although it is an unfortunate consequence of this crisis, many young people are dying and their organs may be healthy enough to be donated. While wondering about donating a kidney, you wonder can a drug addict donate a kidney? Drug use can lead to addicts needing transplants when organs begin to fail due to substance abuse. Here’s a closer look at organ donation and addiction.

How does drug use damage kidneys?

Whether drug addicts can donate organs depends on the condition of those organs and the person’s overall health. In cases of living donors, such as a kidney transplant, doctors must consider the risks to the person receiving the damaged organ. The organs of drug users may have damage related specifically to the drugs used.

Drug users donate a kidney:

As noted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug use can create a wide variety of risk factors for organ health:

  • Inhaled substances damage the lungs and the entire respiratory system.
  • Toxins in the blood from the use of illegal substances can damage the vascular system, even destroying tissue in the heart.
  • Sharing needles can transmit HIV/AIDS or other infectious diseases.
  • Working to flush toxins from the body can cause long-term damage to the kidneys and liver.
  • Poor nutrition and tissue damage can cause musculoskeletal problems.
  • Those who use drugs are also at higher risk of developing some forms of cancer. It can pass on to organ recipients through transplants.

Not all organs suffer damage

An increase in the number of organs donated by drug users who have overdosed is possible because not all organs are immediately damaged. Often, those who use drugs for a short period have relatively healthy organs. This may be the case for someone with a short history of drug abuse and sudden overdose.
These remain suitable for transplantation. The type of drug, the amount used, the way it was used, the general health of the deceased individual, and other factors play a role in the eligibility of organs for transplant.

Who can be a living for donate kidney?

To donate a kidney, you must be in good physical and mental health. In general, you should be over 18 years of age. You must also have normal kidney function. Certain medical conditions may prevent you from becoming a living donor. These include uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, HIV, hepatitis, or acute infection. A serious mental illness that requires treatment can also prevent you from being a donor.

Smokers or drug addicts be living to donate kidney?

You can consider smoking as a risk for a potential donor. Because smoking damages the lungs, it can put the donor at a higher risk of developing pneumonia after surgery. Potential donors should be honest with the transplant centre about their smoking habits so that it will ensure a successful donation and transplant.

Different transplant centres have different policies regarding smoking and living donors. Living donors may be asked to stop smoking before donating. And if the person is a heavy smoker, they may be asked to see a pulmonologist to check their breathing.

Social risk behaviour

You can consider “Socially risky behaviour” a contraindication to organ donation. However, the lack of organs requires an expansion of the donor pool. A rethinking of policy toward substance abusers may be important because the views of the whole population can be useful to define this culturally sensitive issue.

Process of a drug addict donating a kidney

A semi-structured questionnaire on organ donation, including opinions on drug use (cannabis and cocaine), administrate to different groups of the public and caregivers: high school students (Liceo Classic: 59 students, median age 18; Istituto Tecnico: 108, age 17); 1st and 4th years of medical school (77 years, 19 years; 46 years, 22 years); continuing medical education (44, age 32); 3rd year of medical school (31 years, 23 years); “university for seniors” (51, age 63).


Cannabis use was mainly accepted for kidney donation (48.6% yes, 26.6% no, 29.8% unsure/blank), but cocaine use was not (22.1% yes, 44.2% no, 33.7 % uncertain/unclear). So it depends on the type of drug used by drug addicts and whether they can donate or not. In univariate analysis, opinions differed by age, sex, and health team affiliation, with multivariate analysis being the strongest predictor of responses.


Social risk behaviour is difficult to define. Since opinions are important to organ donation. You will need further studies and discussions to regularly analyse our policies. Hope you get the answer about can a drug addict donate a kidney. Through this article.

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