More on Young Athletes, Painkillers and Addiction

young athleteWe recently published an article about the path some young people take to addiction. It’s not necessarily through use of drugs like alcohol or pot – although that is the typical route for many. For these others, addiction starts with prescription medications that are given to them by doctors. The young patient may not be properly instructed on their use and the doctor may not be fully educated on how to prevent dependence on those drugs. After a few twists and turns, the young person winds up addicted even though recreational use was not part of the equation.

The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) just published an article on a closely related topic: how prescription drug abuse has been rising among high school athletes. Their information came from the 2009 Monitoring the Future Report, an annual survey completed on high school students. Students participating in baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, swimming, track and field, football and volleyball were interviewed.

These interviews showed that athletes use illicit substances more often than non-athletes. And the proportion of these young people using painkillers was also higher than usual for teens: “12 percent of males surveyed and 8 percent of females reported using painkillers in the past year.” These numbers were increases over past years’ surveys.

The article notes that among these young athletes, football players are found to be the most likely to use these drugs.

When a young person is injured on the sports field or court, it is natural for a doctor to treat the pain as well as the injury. For a long time, this has meant sending the person home with a full bottle of pills when maybe a half dozen pills would do. The medical industry is coming around to new prescribing practices but this change will take quite a long time to reach all practitioners. If your child is participating in sports this year, it would be smart for you to monitor any prescriptions the doctor offers and perhaps ask if there are alternative methods of reducing pain you can use to end the use of these pills sooner.

You can find the original CADCA article here: