People tend to think that addiction is something primarily that adults have to deal with, but patents who enter drug rehab centers in NJ show that addiction knows not of age of a person it affects. Rehab in New Jersey often sees teens and college athletes that have found themselves affected by injury which lead to be prescribed painkillers for which they develop a substance use disorder.
New Jersey’s state office announced a cooperation with Interscholastic Athletic Association, a regulatory body of sports programs a most of the state’s schools, both public and private, an initiative help with reducing risk of athletes inadvertently finding themselves in the throes of addiction from common scenarios including the one described. The program includes nearly 300,000 athletes at 437 academic institutions.
The first part of the initiative requires athletes to view an informative documentary that describes the risks associated with athletics that are commonly found to lead to drug addictions. For players whose age still puts them within the guardianship of an adult, such as their parents, the parents are also required to view the film. Much of the risk they face comes from their higher likelihood to be prescribed addictive painkillers than their peers who aren’t in an athletic program due to the injuries they sustain at a higher rate.
“Our partnership with the NJSIAA will help raise awareness and educate students and parents on how to prevent sports injuries from leading young athletes down the path to addiction,” said Sharon Joyce, direct of the Office of the New Jersey Coordinator for Addiction Responses and Enforcement Strategies, or NJCARES.
The program comes after a spike in athletes becoming addicted to painkillers like oxycodone, which if allowed to form an addiction and is continuously untreated, can lead to more dangerous drug use in the form of heroin and fentanyl. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics show that nearly half of all heroin users began using it after developing an addiction to prescription pain pills. Drug related deaths in New Jersey totalled over 3,000 in in 2018, which prompted state officials to begin looking for more ways to prevent addiction itself in hopes of increasing the overall health of its citizens.
“We’re pleased to announce the NJSIAA as our latest ally in the fight to end New Jersey’s opioid crisis,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, NJCARES project manager. “This partnership has opened a new front for our battle against addiction – high school athletic playing fields across the state.”
The program not only warns of the addictive properties of specific drugs commonly prescribed to athletes who sustain injuries during practice and games, but also aims to inform them on alternatives which are much safer. It also covers signs of a developing addiction as well as ways to safely find treatment if they find themselves with a substance use disorder.