For the fifth straight year in a row, preliminary data from the United Network on Organ Sharing (UNOS) show that the number of deceased organ donors hit a record high this year — a phenomenon experts say is significantly linked to the rising number of lives lost to the opioid epidemic in the United States, CNN reports.

According to UNOS, the nonprofit that manages the country’s organ transplant network, early data from 2017 show that the number of deceased American organ donors reached more than 10,000 last year, a 3 percent increase over the previous year and a 27 percent rise since 2007. The data also showed that more than 1,300 of those donors, roughly 13 percent, reportedly died from drug overdoses.

UNOS’s chief medical officer also told reporters that overall, there’s been about a 40 percent increase in organ donors across the country since 2012. The number of donors who died of drug overdose has also jumped 144 percent over the past five years. And although UNOS’s data did not determine which drugs contributed to donors’ fatal overdoses, experts say opioids were likely involved in most transplant cases.

The findings reveal a morbid silver lining to the U.S. opioid crisis, in which victims are often young, unharmed and relatively healthy. Doctors have long noted that people who die of overdoses are usually good candidates for organ donation, since they tend not to have diseases associated with aging and the cause of death has not necessarily harmed the body’s vital organs.

Experts also note that in 2013, policy changes broadened the criteria for potential organ donations. Advances in the science and practice of organ transplant as well as a rise in public awareness have also contributed to the record number of donors this year.

Meanwhile, the most recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that more than 63,000 Americans died of drug overdoses in 2016. More than 42,000 of those deaths involved some type of opioid, including heroin, prescription painkillers and fentanyl.