While sports are a great way for high school students to learn teamwork and develop community bonds while staying active, healthy and focused, there is always a risk of injury. When an athletic injury is severe, a physician may prescribe an opioid pain reliever, such as OxyContin or Vicodin.
These potent narcotics are initially highly effective, but they are also highly addictive. It may take as little as two weeks for a teen to become chemically dependent.
From pain relief to addiction
Teens eager to return to their sport may try to stay competitive by masking the pain with a prescription instead of waiting for their injury to heal. This may lead to the injury worsening and the need for further pain relief, increasing the likelihood of becoming dependent.
Once teens develop a dependency, they may find that they enjoy the experience and begin to crave the drug, even after their pain is gone. Even a teen who had no interest in using drugs recreationally before a sports injury may find the temptation to misuse a prescription, or to buy the drug on the street, too much to resist.
From addiction to conviction
According to a recent national survey, within the past year nearly 900,000 teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 misused pain medications. While it is normal for teens to experiment, those experiments may come at a high cost.
In addition to the risk of addiction itself, In Georgia possession of opioids without a prescription is a felony offense that may result in years of imprisonment, a $5,000 fine and a criminal record that could destroy a lifetime of opportunities.