The recent edition of the Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, an online publications, showed the results of a new medical study showing a disturbing rise in high school athlete prescription painkiller abuse. What was less surprising was the fact that football players seemed to be the worst when it came to this type of substance abuse. This may be because of the almost constant discomfort and pain that comes from crashing into other players the size of refrigerators. The author of the study from Clemson University in South Carolina, Bryan Denham, had this to say “I’ve studied the use of performance-enhancing substances in sports for about 15 years, and this study extended that line of research to mind-altering substances. Alcohol has always been available, as has marijuana, but young people also may look to stronger drugs for euphoric effects. If prescription pain relievers are overprescribed in certain regions, their use may trickle down to adolescents. Use of narcotic pain relievers may become a habit with some adolescent athletes.”
Close to 2,300 hundred high school students who were seniors were involved in the medical study, and many were high school athletes. The survey for the study was performed in 2009 and the sponsor for the study was the US National Institute on Drug Abuse. High school athletes reported prescription painkiller abuse in larger numbers than students who did not participate in any sport. Boys were more likely to abuse narcotics than girls were. The results showed that football players used illegal drugs more often and in higher numbers than any other group involved.