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Prescription drugs

High school seniors playing contact sports more likely to abuse prescription drugs in their 20s – The Hill

The story at a glance


  • Researchers collected data from more than 4,000 high school students from 2006 to 2017, then followed them for a decade to measure the relationship between sports participation and prescription drug abuse.

  • The team looked at contact, semi-contact and non-contact sports, and found that athletes are more likely than non-athletes to abuse prescription stimulants.

  • About 31% of people aged 17 to 18 reported abusing prescription drugs in the last year of the study period.

High school students who play sports are more likely than non-athletes to abuse prescription stimulants during their 20s, but those who play contact sports are even more likely than their peers to do so, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of Michigan collected data from 4,777 12e students from 2006 to 2017 and then followed them for a decade to measure the relationship between high school sports participation and prescription drug abuse.

The team looked at contact, semi-contact and non-contact sports, and found that athletes are more likely than non-athletes to abuse prescription stimulants. They found that seniors who play contact sports are 50% more likely than those who haven’t played contact sports to abuse prescription stimulants over the next decade.

Additionally, the percentage of athletes involved in contact athletics who reported using prescription stimulants as seniors increased by 7% between the ages of 21 and 22. About 31% of people aged 17 to 18 reported abusing prescription drugs in the last year of the study period. .

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The study’s lead author, Philip Veliz, an associate research professor at the University of Michigan School of Nursing, said that while opioid use among athletes in contact sports was higher , participation did not trigger any abuse.

Veliz said the abuse of opioids and stimulants has declined over the decade, “the study found that certain types of former high school athletes are at greater risk of abusing these drugs and initiate in early adulthood”.

The researchers said the study results “strengthen screenings” for monitoring drug abuse among high school athletes.

“Increased abuse of prescription stimulants after high school warrants continued monitoring into adulthood, especially in athletes,” Sean Esteban McCabe, lead author and director of DASH, the Center for the Study of Drug, Alcohol, Smoking, and Health from the University of Michigan. School of Nursing, said in the statement.

Posted on August 11, 2022

Joan J. Dean

The author Joan J. Dean