Student Athletes Moving from Painkillers to Heroin

Standing Desks (2)

Most parents of student athletes are focused on their teen’s performance and enjoyment of the sports they’re involved in. Their main concerns are the number of touchdowns scored and college scholarships offered.

But when parents and student athletes get hyper-focused on performance, stress and injuries can contribute to a dangerous habit that destroys changes of major league success: addiction.

Sports Illustrated recently profiled one student athlete’s drug abuse that began with prescription painkillers and spiraled into heroin addiction. Here are the details KC parents should pay attention to.

From Prescription Drugs to Heroin: the Harrowing Addictions Facing Student Athletes

SI‘s article shared the story of Roman Montano, a student athlete from New Mexico, who was an avid baseball player with a promising future in the sport.

What began as a successful high school career began unraveling his junior year, however, when he experienced a foot injury. He had a minor surgery and was prescribed OxyContin for the pain. He continued his season and excelled, garnering 20 Division I scholarship offers.

Just prior to his senior year, Roman was caught using a stolen credit card to purchase items at a local mall. It was his first offense, but the school kicked him off the team, ending his college prospects.

That’s when Roman turned to OxyContin to numb his anger and depression. Although his prescription was no longer valid, he was able to easily obtain the drug at “pill parties,” in which medications are passed around as openly as alcohol and marijuana.

His Oxy addiction grew as his baseball love faded. When his parents uncovered his opioid addiction, they sent him to rehab, where he was prescribed Suboxone. This treatment proved ineffective, though. He moved on from OxyContin to a cheapter alternative: heroin. He overdosed after using intravenously at age 22.

Heroin Abuse Among Teens

Roman is not the only teen whose prescription drug use has led to heroin abuse. Research shows that 1 in 15 people who take non-medical prescription pain medication try heroin within 10 years. In 2010, 1.9 million individuals abused prescription painkillers, and 14% of them also used heroin. This is an increase since 2004, when 1.4 million people abused pain meds and 5% of them used heroin.

Parents can’t ignore the fact that prescription medications pose a real risk to their teens, whether given to student athletes for real injuries, stolen from medicine cabinets, or passed around at parties. These drugs can and do lead to heroin addiction, which often proves fatal.

Don’t Let Your Teen Become a Statistic

Test Smartly Labs of Kansas City provides teen and student athlete drug testing. Whether you are a parent concerned about your teen’s drug use or a sports organization wanting to curb the use of drugs among student athletes, we can provide the assistance you need.

To learn more, call (816) 875-0464 today.

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