Teen Athletes at High Risk For Developing Opiate Addiction

Parents of teen athletes are typically focused on their child’s performance and fun-level in their chosen sports. They want to see their teens excel towards winning games and matches as well as catching the eye of scouts and earning scholarships. However, stress and injuries go hand in hand with both athletics and addiction. Painkillers are a highly expensive addiction and it’s only a matter of time before the students move on to a much cheaper opioid — heroin.

Drug Abuse Among Teens

Nearly 80 percent of heroin users report initially misusing prescription opioids; this does not mean that all those who misuse painkillers will graduate to heroin. A 2009 study published in the Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse found a number of interesting facts. Student athletes more commonly used drugs than their peers, boys were more likely to use drugs than girls, and white students were more commonly drug users than Hispanic or black students. 12 percent of the boys and 8 percent of the girls in the study admitted to painkiller abuse

Are Doctors to Blame?

One thing that sets these teens apart is that they get their drugs from a medical professional. It won’t continue like this, as the addiction grows, the athlete will have to seek their drugs from other sources. The question of why doctors are so quick to prescribe dangerous pain meds to vulnerable students whose brains aren’t fully developed? There are other options that can be explored to help ease pain from injuries, not to mention less destructive medications to prescribe.

Parents shouldn’t ignore the possibility that their teen athlete is at risk of abusing prescription medications for a number of reasons.

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