Educating Student Athletes and Their Parents on Opioids

Student athletes are among the most vulnerable groups affected by New Jersey’s opioid epidemic.

Because of the physical toll of high school sports, these athletes are more prone to injuries that could lead to the prescribing of opioids. Combine that with the fact that the human brain is still developing during teenage years and the use of opioids can have a greater impact on teens’ brains.

An editorial in today’s Star-Ledger presented concerning data on the use of prescription opioids by New Jersey student athletes. The writer states that an estimated 12 percent of male athletes and 9 percent of female athletes have been prescribed an opioid during the past year, according the federal data.

To address this issue, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) and the Office of the New Jersey Coordinator for Addiction Responses and Enforcement Strategies (NJ CARES) last week announced a new education initiative requiring student athletes and parents to watch a video on the risks of opioid use and addiction. The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey (PDFNJ) is proud to serve in an advisory role in the creation of the video.

PDFNJ also has collaborated with the NJSIAA for many years, including on a statewide steroid prevention program and the Stop Opioid Abuse Program (SOAP), which has helped to share vital information on the risks of prescription opioids and prevention methods with high school athletes.

The initiatives will help to spread vital awareness of the dangers of opioids to help athletes and their parents make informed decisions to treat pain from sports injuries.

To learn more about the opioid epidemic and the response from the state and federal governments, attend the Knock Out Opioid Abuse Summit on the State and Federal Response to the Opioid Epidemic on Wednesday, March 27. The free event will be held at The Newark Museum, 49 Washington St., Newark, NJ 07102. Doors will open at 9 a.m. for networking and a light breakfast.

Seating is limited and registration is required. For more information, including a list of speakers, and to register, click HERE.

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