New Study Suggests Playing Team Sports While In High School Does Not Necessarily Link To Heroin Or Prescription Drugs Use

By Claire Parker, Parent Herald January 03, 09:43 am

A new study in the United States claims that playing team sports while in high school is not necessarily linked to heroin or prescription drugs usage. More than 21,000 high school seniors were part of the study.

The Journal of Adolescent Health reported the seniors surveyed were from the years 2006 to 2014. Some of the senior high school students who took part in the study were involved in 16 different team sports.

Reuters also reported that there were no differences found regarding prescription or illegal opioid usage among the students who played sports and those who did not play any kind of team sports. However, increased usage of prescription or illegal opioid or heroin usage was found in athletes playing hockey, weightlifting and wrestling.

The lead author of the study, Philip Veliz of the University of Michigan, said that they have found out in their previous studies that athletes in general, do not misuse prescription opioids. However, the players of the three aforementioned sports were at a greater risk of misusing prescription drugs.

The participants of the study answered questions from a survey form that included factors that could possibly influence drug use. Some of these factors included in the survey were grades, family, cigarette and alcohol use, social life, employment and sports participation.

The other sports included in the form are basketball, baseball, football, soccer, track and weightlifting. A total of 31 percent of the participants is non-athletes while 30 percent played at least one sport. Eighteen percent played two sports and 21 percent played three sports.

One of the questions in the survey is if they used heroin in the past year with or without a needle or other drugs other than heroin without the prescription of a doctor. Eight percent of the total sample population answered that they have taken prescription drugs without getting a prescription.

It was also found out that prescription opioids being used without prescription are used by non-athletes and 25 percent less likely to be used by tennis players. Twenty-two percent of weightlifters and 33 percent of wrestlers are more likely to use prescription opioids without prescription.

For heroin usage, hockey players were found out to use it three times more common than non-athletes and 81 percent more likely for weightlifters. The study then advised parents to help the prevention of misusage of opioids by assuring that athletes are closely supervised. Unused medications should also be disposed.

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