Should Teen Athletes Be Prescribed Painkillers?

Young athletes at the peak of their performance are often told to push through the pain of an injury. This usually means popping more and more prescription painkillers every day. Experts believe that the 22,000 Americans dying each year due to painkiller addiction (National Safety Council) are athletes who got hooked after suffering injuries.

Athletes Hooked On Prescription Painkillers

Doctors Overprescribing

Overprescribing by doctors has become a huge problem, as they will authorize 6-8 month’s supply instead of one. While this may be convenient, it allows athletes to take advantage of the amount they can take at once.  The danger of these pills is often overlooked by doctors when a top student-athlete is in need, the power of the prescription is often extremely strong.

States are Fighting Back

States are attempting to curb the number of pills doctors can authorize at one time. For example, Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (a statewide nonprofit) is pushing legislation that would inform the patient and their family know that these prescriptions are addictive substances. It sounds like common sense, right?

Wrong. Doctors are fighting back because they feel that this legislation would encroach on their practice.

What Parents and Coaches Should Watch For

As a parent, teacher, or coach, you may never think that a great student and athlete would get hooked on these medications. However, because students are at a “risk age” for abusing drugs, parents and coaches should be looking at the behavior and motivation of injured athletes. Are they suddenly missing practices? Are they responding in an overly emotional fashion to everything?

Better alternatives to prescription drugs are physical therapy, chiropractor, acupuncture, even ibuprofen; the recovery time is a little longer but worth it when you could be looking at a life-threatening addiction. Not being able to compete or play may feel like the end of the world but it’s nothing compared to an addiction that results in never ever playing again.

Worried your teen is using drugs? We provide accurate and confidential drug testing, contact Test Smartly Labs today.

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