West Virginia takes aim at opioid use in prep sports

West Virginia’s athletic association is partnering with groups around the state to tackle opioid abuse in high school sports.

West Virginia Secondary Schools Athletic Commission
West Virginia Secondary Schools Athletic Commission

The state’s attorney general, the West Virginia Board of Medicine and the West Virginia Physical Therapy Association will also join the effort, according to a report from WHSV. A study conducted by the University of Michigan found that 21% of male athletes and 14% of female athletes will suffer a sports-related injury each year. It also found that adolescent male athletes are twice as likely to be prescribed opioid painkillers and four times more likely to abuse them when compared to non-athletes.

From the article:

The Attorney General and his partners worry the unnecessary usage of opioid painkillers to treat athletic injuries could lead to increased dependence, abuse and addiction. In fact, a New York University study found, “three-quarters of high school heroin users started with a prescription opioid.”

This initiative will push other forms of pain management. Alternatives include physical therapy, non-opioid painkillers, acupuncture, massage therapy and over-the-counter medication.

“Those pills strike fear in you,” said Capital High Football Head Coach Jon Carpenter. “I think any coach would support an initiative that would keep his players from getting addicted to such a drug.”

The campaign includes fliers, PSAs and speaking events throughout the state.

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