Monday, April 7, 2014

Teen Athletes at Risk for Opioid Abuse

By Flor Cianchetti

Yahoo Health~ Sports are a great way for teens to maintain physical and mental health. But teen athletes can get injured. Sometimes, those injuries are so painful that teens are prescribed opioid painkillers, which might introduce the opportunity for drug misuse.

A recent study found that teens who played team sports were at risk for opioid medication misuse.
Teens who participated in sports were more likely to get injured than those who did not play organized sports, and the teen athletes' doctors often prescribed opioid medications (narcotics) to relieve their pain.
But easy access to opioid medications by teen athletes may offer an opportunity for drug abuse, according to the authors of this study.
This recent study — which looked at whether sports participation among adolescents was associated with the use of opioid medications — was conducted by Philip Veliz, PhD, of the Institute for Research of Women and Gender from the University of Michigan, and colleagues.
According to Dr. Veliz, “We should expect that adolescents who participate in competitive sports at the interscholastic level are at a greater risk to get injured and, subsequently, be more likely to be prescribed opioids to manage pain.”
The study included a total of 1,540 adolescent students from schools in Michigan who filled out a survey for three consecutive school years during 2009 to 2012. Students were between 11 and 17 years old (average age 14) when they completed their first survey, between 12 and 18 when they filled out the second survey and between 13 and 19 during the last survey.
The following four questions were included in the surveys to assess the medical use, improper medical use (used too much or too often) and non-medical use of opioid medications:
  1. “On how many occasions in the past 12 months has a doctor, dentist, or nurse prescribed the following types of medicine for you?"
  2. "On how many occasions (if any) in the past 12 months have you used too much (e.g., higher doses, more frequent doses) of your prescribed medication?"
  3. "On how many occasions (if any) in the past 12 months have you intentionally gotten high with your prescribed medication or used it to increase other drug or alcohol effects?"
  4. "On how many occasions in the past 12 months have you used the following types of medicines not prescribed to you?"

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