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Athletes and Prescription Drug Abuse

Hello, it’s Mrs. S, your favorite Spanish teacher =)

I told you the story of my student Andy, who was an athlete and became addicted to prescription painkillers after a sports injury. Unfortunately, Andy’s story is all too common among both students and athletes.

There are many reasons why athletes, in particular, are susceptible to prescription drug abuse. Below are some of the prescription drugs most commonly abused by athletes. They are all highly addictive, possible to overdose on, and can be fatal.

Stimulants

Stimulant drugs work by activating the central nervous system to increase focus and alertness. Prescription stimulant drugs are used to treat ADHD, sleep disorders, and more. Some of the most commonly used stimulant prescription drugs are Adderall and Concerta. Athletes may use stimulants to stay awake either to practice and work out or to study and catch up in other aspects of life due to falling behind from sports. Athletes might use stimulant drugs to boost their energy and enhance their athletic performance.

Opioids

Opioids are depressants and are found in prescription and street drugs. In prescription medication, they are typically used to treat pain, anxiety, sleep disorders, and relax muscles. There are many reasons why athletes abuse opioids. The most common reason is that opioid painkillers are routinely prescribed after surgeries or severe injuries for pain management. Athletes who are injured or require surgery are often prescribed pain medication. It is very easy to become addicted to pain medication, especially if used in any way other than recommended by the doctor. Athletes might try to relax their muscles with a prescription muscle relaxer. They could have anxiety about their sports performance or from juggling athletics with other responsibilities.

Steroids

Steroids can be taken by injection, orally, or by applying a topical cream. Steroids are a prescription drug used to treat certain illnesses, and are not meant to be used by athletes. Steroids are not recommended for long-term use. Athletes may take steroids to enhance their training and athletic performance. Steroids give a burst of strength and energy and may make athletes feel stronger. However, if used for too long, steroids can have very damaging effects on the body. Many steroid users develop a tolerance for the drug and have to use more and more to get the boost they are looking for. They will stack steroids, meaning use several different kinds together, which is very dangerous.