Nonmedical Use of Prescription Opioids and Heroin Use Among Adolescents Involved in Competitive Sports

color photo of young person playing ice hockey
color photo of young person playing ice hockey

January 2017

IRWG researchers Philip Veliz, Carol J. Boyd, and Sean Esteban McCabe coauthored a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health examining the prevalence of nonmedical use of prescription opioids and heroin use, among high school athletes.

In a recent article by Reuters, "Researchers examined data from more than 21,000 high school seniors surveyed between 2006 and 2014. Overall, they didn’t find any differences in prescription or illegal opioid use between students who played at least one competitive sport and non-athletes. The study did, however, find an increased risk with three sports: hockey, weightlifting and wrestling.

'We already knew from several of my previous studies that while athletes in general are at a lower risk of opioid use, athletes involved in high contact sports like wrestling, football, ice hockey, and lacrosse are at a greater risk of misusing prescription opioids,' said lead study author Philip Veliz."

Read the complete study in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

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