Prescription drug abuse has become a hot topic in recent times. Part of the reason appears to be the increased amount of prescription drug abuse that goes on in the general population, because of the large numbers of people who are prescribed drugs to deal with pain post-surgery.
Certain groups of people seem more prone to developing problems with prescription drug abuse, such as professional athletes. Due to the amount of injuries professional athletes incur and surgeries they have to endure to stay active, they are probably exposed more to prescription painkillers than the average person.
Pressure To Perform
Professional athletes make unbelievable sums of money for seemingly throwing a ball around an arena. But sports like football and basketball generate huge amounts of revenue every year in the United States, and as a result the top athletes who compete in these sports get paid millions of dollars. However, with the millions comes intense pressure on the players to perform and be healthy.
Being the in public eye, the perception may be that athletes need the prescription drugs more, because of the responsibility they have not only to their team, but the fans who truly are fanatical about sports. Fans don’t care what the athlete has to do, as long as he is able to perform well when he’s out playing. To cope with pain and injuries, athletes are commonly prescribed such drugs as:
Athletes Are Held On A Pedestal
Every culture needs heroes, role-models, and people who are put on a pedestal. Most of the time, these people are larger than life figures who perform feats that capture people’s imaginations. And in an athlete’s case, he is put on a pedestal for being a larger than life figure, who is able to perform amazing athletic feats that win games. Due to this idolization of athletes, there is often a double standard when it comes to prescription drugs.
Athletes receive superior medical care, because of how quickly they are needed to recover from injuries. They are surrounded by an attentive medical team after every injury to make sure they receive the highest level of medical care. Treating players in the NFL, in particular, has been called a unique medical challenge, and the reason is the medical team having to make sure the athlete is able to perform as his highest level no matter what. As a result, they administer more prescription drugs to athletes, particularly painkillers, to help the players cope with pain.
Because of the extreme pressure on athletes and doctors to get them up and running again, athletes get prescribed more painkillers, so that they can play quickly after an injury. Regular people, who don’t play sports, wouldn’t normally be prescribed the drugs. Doctors will use short-terms methods of dealing with pain, instead of other methods that may prove more effective long-term.
The bottom-line is that no athlete will play the sport forever. It’s a sport for young people, and with every generation, an older generation retires, either due to injury or being unable to play at the highest level required. Therefore, doctors and athletes need to take into consideration when is most appropriate to be prescribed painkillers.
With the recent rise of the abuse of painkillers from the general population, the dangers of painkillers have become more widely known. And developing dependences and addictions to painkillers is highly dangerous, and can even result in death. While it may seem like a quick fix to prescribe athletes an abnormally high amount of painkillers, the long-term health of the athletes need to also be taken into consideration.
Prescription drug abuse has become a problem with all segments of the population. But due to the high-profile and idolization of professional athletes there is a double standard regarding the amount of drugs they are prescribed. This is a dangerous practice, and as a result professional athletes are at a greater risk of developing painkiller addictions.