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High school students who play contact sports are 50% more likely to misuse prescription stimulants in the future

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High school seniors who played contact sports appeared to be most likely to abuse prescription stimulants while in school and up to 10 years after graduation.

Researchers at the University of Michigan suggest that high school seniors who play sports are more likely to misuse prescription stimulants in young adulthood than non-athletes. Findings show that among her 12th graders playing sports, contact-sport athletes are even more likely to misuse prescriptions than non-contact-sport athletes.

“Prescription opioid misuse was higher among respondents who participated in contact sports during grade 12. However, participation in these types of sports was associated with initiation of this type of drug use in young adulthood. We didn’t,” said lead author Philip Veliz, PhD. Associate Research Professor at the University of Michigan (UM) School of Nursing, Press in his release.

Since 2010, prescription opioid and stimulant abuse rates have declined among adolescents, Veliz said. This use-reduction regulation came in the middle of a study conducted from 2006 to 2017. Veliz said this influenced the findings.

“However, this study found that some types of former high school athletes are at increased risk of misusing these substances, starting in early adulthood (between the ages of 19 and 21).” explained Veliz in a press release.

Researchers drew from over a decade of data collected for the Monitoring the Future study. Overall, about 31% of 4,772 U.S. high school seniors said he abused prescription drugs at least once between the ages of 17 and 18. From age 21 he increased to about 18% by age 22.

Data included contact sports (football, ice hockey, lacrosse, wrestling), semi-contact sports (baseball, basketball, field hockey, soccer), and non-contact sports (cross-country, gymnastics, swimming, tennis, track). from a student who is , volleyball, weightlifting).

In the study, Veliz said he was surprised that non-contact sports athletes were more likely to start misusing stimulants in young adulthood. While contact-free sports may have a culture of self-control and an aversion to physical harm, participants in these sports can still be very competitive, he said in a press release. stated in the release.

Other studies have found that young people who participate in non-contact sports may be more academically inclined. These adolescents may view track and field as a resume builder for college applications, erroneously believing that stimulants can improve physical performance as well as academic performance. There may be

“The findings strengthen screening for adolescents, as nearly one in three high school students is involved in prescription drug abuse,” said Senior Center for Drug, Alcohol, Smoking, and Health Research (DASH). Author and Director Sean Esteban McCabe, Ph.D. said in a press release from the University of Michigan School of Nursing. “The rise in prescription stimulant abuse after high school, especially among athletes, warrants continued surveillance in young adulthood.”


High school athletes who play contact sports are more likely to misuse prescription stimulants throughout their twenties. University of Michigan Institute of Health Care Policy & Innovation. August 10, 2022. Accessed 15 August 2022.