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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Teen Athletes Drink More Than Do Drugs

High school sports events are typically followed by a party, in which athletes and students drink and use drugs of one form or another. New research has indicated that teens who play sports are more likely to abuse alcohol when compared to their non-athlete peers. However, teen athletes are less likely to use illicit drugs other than marijuana, according to the research published in the journal Addictive Behaviors.

The new findings are the result of an analysis of 17 past studies, that dealt with teens substance use.

“It starts with parents but coaches and sporting organizations have a critical role to play here also,” said lead author John Cairney of McMaster University. “If adults in these contexts are ‘looking the other way’ in regards to this behavior, we need to do something about it. Education, including training at the coach level (certification) may be one solution. Raising awareness of potential dangers to parents and youth themselves is important also.”

One study has found that teens involved in sports may be able to acquire opioid pain medications easier than non-athletes, Reuters reports. Philip Veliz of the University of Michigan’s Institute for Research on Women and Gender, author of the study, stated that parents and coaches need to be cognizant of the potential for misusing opioid medications.

“Sports can be a positive protective factor in a young person’s life because of all those great things‒structure, goal setting, fair play and achievement,” Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of The Partnership at Drugfree.org told Reuters. “But it’s not a silver bullet.”

The findings appear in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
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