Study: Sports participation may keep teens from using heroin

young boys playing football in uniform
young boys playing football in uniform

Teen athletes are less likely to abuse prescription opioids and heroin than non-athletes, indicating that sports participation may have a “protective factor,” according to a new study by IRWG researchers Philip Veliz, Carol Boyd and Sean Esteban McCabe.

"The physical activity and positive social connections embedded within sport may serve as a positive developmental experience that can potentially deter youth from serious types of illicit substance use like NPOU (nonmedical prescription opioid use), heroin or cocaine,” the authors wrote in the study “Nonmedical Prescription Opioid and Heroin Use Among Adolescents Who Engage in Sports and Exercise” (Veliz P, et al. Pediatrics. July 25, 2016,

Veliz spoke to CNN about the findings.

Read more from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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