Study: Some physical sports can lead to heroin, opioid abuse - WNEM TV 5

Study: Some physical sports can lead to heroin, opioid abuse

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Do your kids play high-contact sports? They may be at risk for heroin or opioid abuse, according to a new study. 

Researchers at the University of Michigan looked at more than 21,000 seniors from 2006-2014 who were involved in 16 different sports where serious injuries were common - such as hockey, football, lacrosse and wrestling.

They then examined how common it was for those students to use prescription opioids for nonmedical purposes, use heroin or abuse nonprescription opioids and heroin at the same time.

Most of the 16 sports analyzed were not associated with the three drug use outcomes. However, seniors who participated in hockey had substantially greater odds of both past-year heroin use and concurrent use of both heroin and nonprescribed drugs, the study showed. 

Researchers said hockey may simply have riskier youth who are involved in the sport, or these athletes have greater access to opioids given that it is predominantly populated by white, middle-class youth.

"The findings provide critical information to inform doctors and parents of the potential risks associated with participating in certain high contact sports and the need to monitor the use and misuse of prescription drugs that have high abuse potential," said Philip Veliz, research assistant professor at U-M's Institute for Research on Women and Gender.

The U-M study also found a correlation between weightlifting and wrestling and the use of nonprescription opioid abuse. 

To read more about the study, click here

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