The Link Between Sports Injuries and Addiction

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The Link Between Sports Injuries and Addiction

Today, we are seeing a massive increase in drug and alcohol addiction in this country. Of course, this increase is something that is particularly concerning in many different ways. Alarmingly, addiction to opiates is now being labeled as an official epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  This label was outlined in 2012, and the drug addiction problems are becoming even worse now. Today, there is a definite link between sports injuries and addiction.

One of the issues is that drug addiction is becoming a very big problem for professional athletes and sports players.  Even in high schools, sports injuries and addiction are now frequently occurring problems among student-athletes.

High School and Professional Sports Injuries and Addiction

For some of the data on it, we found that on average there are a good 7.5 million athletes playing high school sports in any given year in this country.  Statistically speaking, about one-fourth of these athletes will sustain an injury of one kind or another.  Of those who sustain injuries, the majority receive prescriptions for pain medication.  Many of these high school athletes go on to develop an addiction to their painkiller medication.

It’s not just with student-athletes either; players in professional sports are just as much at risk of this as student-athletes.  Professional athletes also acquire sports injuries and addiction. Once an injury takes place, they start medicating with painkillers, developing an addiction to them.  They think that they can just take pain drugs not to feel pain when playing, but they do not realize that there is a lot more to it than that.

Studies now show that about eleven percent of high school and college athletes both report using prescription drugs for non-medical, recreational purposes.  This same percentage is true for professional athletes also.  What this means is that such individuals are taking too many pills. It also shows that people then quite quickly fall prey to painkiller addiction.

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The Problem Does not Stop with Sports

The cruel thing is that this drug problem does not end with sports figures. Sadly, people who abuse pain medication, athletes or not, usually go on to abuse illegal drugs. In fact, studies done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that about three out of four people who use heroin started first with prescription painkillers. What happens in these cases, is that a physician prescribes pain medication to a patient. Once this patient takes the medication over a period of time, they develop a tolerance to the drug.

Tolerance Leads to Addiction

The tolerance for prescription pain medication leads to a dependence on the drug. Once an individual develops a tolerance, they need more of the drug to alleviate the pain. Physicians may realize that the patient is becoming addicted to their medication. Therefore, they will stop prescribing it to them for obvious reasons. By this time, if the patient is truly addicted to their prescription opioids, they will look elsewhere to purchase them. Hence, this will lead to illegal purchases of the drug.

You can see how sports injuries and addiction go hand-in-hand. If someone who is addicted to pain medication does not have the drug, they will develop withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms from opioids are severe and can include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Excessive sweating
  • Goosebumps on the skin
  • High blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness

In addition, there are other withdrawal symptoms which individuals may experience, some of which can become extremely uncomfortable and even dangerous. Ultimately, many opioid addicts will go to any lengths to prevent these withdrawal symptoms, even taking heroin when painkillers are not available.

The situation that ends up occurring here is that athletes are taking drugs at levels never seen before.  Furthermore, if something is not done on an individual and nationwide basis soon, the integrity and the very existence of professional and high school sports in this country will suffer greatly.

Addressing the Issue of Sports Injuries and Addiction with Rehabilitation

Drug and alcohol addiction is a cruel and harsh issue, to say the least, but it does not have to be this way.  Substance abuse is a very present concern for a lot of people in the United States today.  For athletes who have fallen on hard times and are living with addiction, A Forever Recovery is the ideal choice as a way out of this crisis.

A Forever Recovery helps many athletes get their lives back. This treatment center has the skill and ability to truly help people recover from addiction. Call today for more information on how we can help you or a loved one. One of our informed representatives can answer any questions you may have about our many different addiction treatment programs and our facility. Make that call now.


  • – Opiates: When Sports Injuries Become Drug Addiction

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