By: Rikki Quintero
Suffering injury and possibly facing surgery is an obstacle that many athletes are forced to overcome at one point in their careers. Athletes faced with the challenge of that obstacle are subject to the risk of becoming addicted to the drugs they are prescribed after surgery. “Experts say the United States is in the throes of an opioid epidemic, as more than two million Americans have become dependent on or abused prescription pain pills and street drugs. It is the deadliest drug crisis in American history, killing about 90 Americans every day, and recent data suggests even more deaths than car crashes.” (CNN 2017). Most of these drugs that are prescribed are opioids, which are drugs formulated to replicate the pain reducing properties of opium. Common types of pills prescribed post-surgery are oxycodone, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone (CNN 2017). These types of painkillers can be very addictive and what makes them dangerous in the case of recovering athletes is that a player may face depression or anxiety from not being able to compete. If an athlete is starting to get depressed about not playing, the ease of access to opioids may lead to dependency issues. Many athletes do not understand how deadly these opioids really can be, or how difficult it can be to wean off them after recovery. If you are an injured athlete who is currently managing pain with prescription drugs, please do a self-evaluation to make sure that you are not slipping towards the dark side of painkillers.