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School Athletes and Opioids: A Risky Proposition

By Elaine Chan, Intern The New Year can offer many, new, and exciting opportunities. However, the New Year can also pose arduous obstacles. One of the challenges that school administrators and communities may face is the opioid misuse prevalence among student–athletes as new sports season starts. Despite the positive benefits young athletes gain from participating in organized sports, such participation may actually put some adolescents at risk for substance use because of increased access to pain medications. Youths who participate in high-injury sports may be surrounded by peers who are more likely to have leftover prescription opioids, making it easier to receive diverted prescription opioids to ease injuries without having to acknowledge to parents and coaches that they need medical attention (e.g., hiding injuries from coaches to participate). Therefore, youths involved in organized sports may be at a higher risk to misuse opioid medications because of their increased risk for injury....
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