Competitive sports may trigger drug addiction in teens, finds study

Competitive sports may trigger drug addiction in teens, finds study

Sports form an integral part of a teen’s growth and development. Apart from eliminating the risk of serious health complications, outdoor games affect teens psychologically, mentally and socially. But, a new study done by researchers from the University of Michigan has revealed the side effects of high-contact sports like hockey, wrestling, football and ice hockey. Teens who play high-contact sports, such as hockey, are at a greater risk for heroin use and nonmedical use of prescription opioids observed the study published in the “Journal of Adolescent Health” in March 2017.

The study’s focus was on high-contact sports where the teens are likely to get severely injured. As part of the study, the researchers analyzed the data of seniors involved in 16 different sports, taken from the 2006-2014 cohorts of the Monitoring the Future study involving more than 21,000 students. Then, they outlined the prevalence of nonmedical use of prescription opioids, heroin use and the concurrent abuse of nonprescription opioids and heroin for the past year.

Need to monitor use and misuse of prescription drugs that have high abuse potential

Results from the study revealed that there were no specific differences between the 12th-graders who participated in at least one competitive sport and nonparticipants in terms of their past-year abuse of prescription opioids, heroin use and concurrent use of the drugs. Further, most of the sports analyzed during the study were not found to be associated with any of the three outcomes. However, 12th-graders who were active hockey players were prone to past-year heroin use and concurrent use of both heroin and non-prescribed drugs.

The study also highlighted the following points:

  • Approximately 8.3 percent of the respondents indicated nonmedical use of nonprescription opioids.
  • 9 percent of the study sample comprised past year’s heroin users.
  • Around 0.6 percent of the study sample indicated concurrent heroin use and abuse of nonprescription opioids during the past year.

While analyzing the data with respect to the youths’ past-year involvement in competitive sports, it was found that:

  • 3 percent of seniors participated in at least one competitive sport (30.4 percent, one sport only; 17.7 percent, two sports; 21.2 percent, three or more sports).
  • The highest participation was observed in “other” sports (26 percent), basketball (20.2 percent), football (15.8 percent), baseball (14.5 percent) and soccer (12.9 percent).
  • Youths engaged in sports, such as weightlifting and wrestling, had higher chances of past-year’s association with nonprescription opioids.
  • As compared to respondents who did not participate in these sports during the past-year, those who participated in soccer showed lesser chances of past-year nonprescription opioids.
  • Involvement in both hockey and weightlifting was significantly associated with greater odds of past-year heroin use, when compared to respondents who did not participate in these two sports.

Philip Veliz, research assistant professor at U-M’s Institute for Research on Women and Gender, said, “The findings provide critical information to inform doctors and parents of the potential risks associated with participating in certain high contact sports and the need to monitor the use and misuse of prescription drugs that have high abuse potential.”

Road to recovery

No previous study has evaluated the probable overlapping use of opioids and heroin among young athletes, including those involved in different competitive sports. The study is likely to set the trend among the researchers to understand this aspect of active sports. Addiction to any form of drugs can be treated only when an individual has a strong will to recover. Detoxification will help start the course of treatment by removing all the toxins accumulated in the body due to the prolonged use of substances. A holistic detox program will assist in managing the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms that might occur due to the abstinence of the drug under clinically controlled conditions.

If you know someone who is addicted to any form of drugs, the California Detox Helpline can assist you in finding the best detox centers in California. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-780-2495 or chat online to get complete information about the detox retreat in California.