Prescription painkiller abuse is one of the dirty little secrets of professional sports. It hides behind the scandals of muscle-building steroids. Types of painkillers like Vicodin and Percocet are keeping players with chronic injuries and pain in the game.
Athletes are among the most at-risk individuals when it comes to they type of addiction. The measures taken to strengthen their bodies or recovering from serious injuries introduces this risk while attempting to increase performance.
When the rehabilitation period athletes use these strong painkillers. If not used properly it develops into an addiction.
This kind of abuse prevalent in pro sports due to the immense physical wear and tear on an athlete’s body and enduring many injuries, which leads to a need for relief. Of course pain management is one of the biggest issues for team doctors and trainers while treating injured players.
For some athletes, pain pills are an essential part of getting through training and competition. Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre, the NFL’s all-time leading passer, is perhaps the best known sports figure to admit a problem. In 1996, he spent 45 days in rehab for addiction to Vicodin.
Prescription narcotics fall into the class of opioids, which include powerful drugs like morphine, codeine, fentanyl, methadone and heroin. These types of drugs attach to receptors in the central nervous system, preventing the brain from receiving pain messages. In addition to masking pain, it will produce feelings of euphoria and illusions of athletic prowess beyond athletic ability.
Pain medication is a whole new area that we really need to look at. Quitting isn’t easy and is often met with withdrawal symptoms ranging from muscle and bone pain to insomnia, diarrhea, and vomiting. Long-term effects of painkiller abuse include addiction; depression; infection of the heart lining and valves; and permanent damage to the liver, lungs, and kidneys. Considering these harsh realities, it is important to remember that the need to get back out on the field or the court pales in comparison to the effects of painkillers in those who freely abuse them.
An addiction to painkillers is not shameful, embarrassing or a sign of weakness. It should not make others think less of an athlete’s skill or their worth as a human being. Asking for help is the strongest, hardest and best decision to make. There are treatments that exist and are tailored specifically for the individual.
Ending the use painkillers as quickly as possible is the best way to go to avoid the risk of becoming addicted. If it does become a problem it’s better to get help right away as there are issues as the use of these drugs continue.