Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Drug Free Sport Staff Writers

Monday, February 21, 2011

Substance Abuse Prevention – Prescription Drugs & Student-Athletes

Did you know that prescription drug use is the fastest growing drug problem in America today?

Are we overly condoning and/or overly condemning young people, and leaving them at a higher risk?

Today’s world is filled with many issues that have been around for centuries, but they are intensified today with our multitude of technologies.  Research has shown us that young people in a setting with high stress can lead to drug use and or abuse.  So how can someone become addicted to a substance?  To understand this, we must find what relief the person (addict) finds, or hopes to find, in the drug or the addictive behavior. The following is a list of common problems experienced in today’s society by our youth (athletics focus).
·         Divorce
·         Physical/mental abuse
·         Death of loved one
·         Standardized Test (SAT/ACT, etc…)
·         Loss of starting position
·         Injury
·         Depression
·         Inability to sleep
·         Inability to focus
After reading the above list, does it surprise you that the most commonly abused (misused) prescription drugs are as follows:
  • Opioids:  usually prescribed to treat pain. Heroin, Codeine, Opium, Morphine, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Fentanyl, Hydromorphone, Methadone, Buprenorphine
  • CNS depressants: used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. (sedatives, tranquilizers, muscle relaxers) Abmien, Lunesta, Xanax, Valium, Librium, Rohypnol, Gamma-hydroxybutyrate(GHB), Ativan, Klonopin
  • Stimulants:  prescribed to treat ADHD & narcolepsy. Amphetamines (Adderall), Lisdexamfetamine -(dextroamphetamine with lysine) (Vyvanse) Methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Methylin), Methamphetamine (Desoxyn)
It seems likely that young people are less concerned about the dangers of using these drugs outside of medical regimen, likely because they are widely used for “legitimate” purposes.  Also, prescription psychotherapeutic drugs are now being advertised directly to the consumer, which implies both that they are used widely and are safe to use.
  • Every $1.00 spent advertising prescription drugs is estimated to increase their retail sales by $4.20
  • Pharmaceutical companies spend nearly twice as much on promotions in the U.S. as they do on research and development (R&D). 
The problem with these prescribed drugs that many young people fail to realize, is that they are very dangerous even though they are prescribed by a doctor.  They can still kill you! 
·         Approximately 100,000 deaths/year in U.S. – these are drugs being used properly

Even if they do not kill you; there is always a chance they can harm you in other ways
·         Approximately 1,500,000 hospitalizations/year in U.S.

So I ask again, Are we overly condoning and/or overly condemning young people, and leaving them at a higher risk? 

I believe we are.

  1. Jason, et al. (Lazarou et al), Incidence of Adverse Drug Reactions in Hospitalized Patients, Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Vol. 279. April 15, 1998, pp. 1200-05.
  2. Bates, David W., Drugs and Adverse Drug Reactions: How Worried Should We Be? JAMA, Vol. 279. April 15, 1998, pp. 1216-17.
  3. The JOURNAL of the AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (JAMA) Vol 284, No 4, July 26th 2000 article written by Dr Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health
  4. Gagnon, M. A. and Lexchin, J. (2008, Jan) The Cost of Pushing Pills: A New Estimate of Pharmaceutical Promotion Expenditures in the United States. PloS Medicine. http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.0050001

Monday, February 7, 2011

Substance Abuse Prevention

The year was 2000 and I was a junior in college, I was in the best shape of my life having completed football season and in the midst of a track season that would prove to be my best collegiate year of competition.  I was on top of the world, school was going great, sports were stellar and to top it all off I was a bachelor that lived alone!  I lived next door to a great girl that would always wave when we saw one another, and if given the chance she could talk for hours.  She seemed to have the perfect life, nice car, great style, plenty of friends, and what seemed to be a good boyfriend.  One evening, I got a knock on my door and my neighbor was standing in front of me crying.  I instinctively invited her in and tried to console her, but noticed immediately that something was not right.  Her speech was slowed, she was stumbling, and she seemed distant.  I didn’t think she was drunk, but still asked if she was drunk, she said no and I proceeded to ask what she had done immediately before coming to my apartment, and she nonchalantly answered “trying to end my life”…Thankfully, I was somewhat knowledgeable about how to handle a toxic agent being ingested or an overdose.  I immediately gave her milk to drink and sat her upright in a chair.  I grabbed the pill bottle she had ingested, and took her to the emergency room, where they pumped her stomach and checked her into the psychiatric ward of the hospital.  This story has a happy ending because she was released days later, and started receiving the help and attention that she needed and had been calling for, for so long.  She later told me that she suffered from depression, substance abuse (oxycotin), and Anorexia Nervosa.  To say the least I was utterly surprised!  I tell you this story, to help you understand that perceptions are not always reality, and as the old adage goes, you cannot always judge a book by its cover, so don’t be afraid to ask for help or offer help, we all need a ear, shoulder and kind heart from time-to-time.
Have you ever had a family member, friend or even neighbor that had issues with abusing drugs?  How about someone that had a body image disorder, anger management issues or the desire to end their life?  Well these are just a few of the topics that we covered the last two weekends with the APPLE Conference (1/21 -1/23 and 1/28 – 1/30.  The APPLE Conferences are led by the University of Virginia Gordie Center for Alcohol and Substance Education with assistance from the NCAA, Drug Free Sport, the Bacchus Network and the Gordie Foundation.  The great thing about the APPLE conferences is that they are focused solely on the student-athlete and the prevention of substance abuse and promoting health for student-athletes and athletics department administrators.  From the APPLE website,
“The goal of the APPLE conference is to assist colleges in promoting student athlete health and wellness by empowering teams of student- athletes and administrators to create an institution-specific action plan. “
There are individuals in our lives right now that could be experiencing or fighting and addiction, having trouble managing anger or image issues, and we could have no idea.  This is a problem, but we can do something to help, there are professionals at your schools, in your community and at the government level that can help you prevent substance abuse, but also recognize the signs of potential problems. 
I heard a number of wonderful presentations at the APPLE Conferences, and here are just a few of the professionals that spoke (power point presentations available to view here):
Linda Hancock is Director of the Wellness Resource Center at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and a Family Nurse Practitioner.
Doug Everhart serves as the Manager of Alcohol Programs at the University of California-Irvine
Scott Goldman, Ph. D. is the clinical and performance psychologist for the University of Arizona's athletic department.
Matt Vogel works at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse as a Health Educator and an adjunct Instructor for the Department of Health Education and Health Promotion. 
Erica Upshaw travels the country speaking to high school and college audiences and has reached more than 50,000 students with her program Keep Friendship Alive.
Craig Littlepage is in his eighth year as the Athletic Director of the University of Virginia.
Dr. Kelli Moran-Miller provides clinical and performance enhancement services at Virginia Tech, servicing the Athletic Department and Cook Counseling Center.

Professional Organizations
American Academy of Pediatrics:  http://www.aap.org/  
American College of Sports Medicine:  http://www.acsm.org/  
American Dietetic Association:  http://www.eatright.org/  
American Society for Nutrition:  http://www.nutrition.org/about-asn/  
American Medical Association:  http://www.ama-assn.org/  
American Public Health Association:  http://www.apha.org/  
Institute of Medicine of the National Academies- Food and Nutrition Board:  http://www.iom.edu/About-IOM/Leadership-Staff/Boards/Food-and-Nutrition-Board.aspx  
Keep Friendship Alive:  http://www.keepfriendshipalive.com/
National Research Council:  http://sites.nationalacademies.org/nrc/index.htm  
National Institutes of Health:  http://www.nih.gov/  
National Library of Medicine:  http://www.nlm.nih.gov/  
National Eating Disorders Association: http://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/
The National Center for Drug Free Sport Inc.http://www.drugfreesport.com/
College Drinking – Changing the Culture:  http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/StatsSummaries/snapshot.aspx
Consumer Lab (subscription needed):  http://www.consumerlab.com/
National Institute of Health:  http://www.nih.gov/  
Healthfinder:  http://www.healthfinder.gov/  
Partnership for a Drug-Free America:  http://www.drugfree.org/
The Resource Exchange Center:  http://www.drugfreesport.com/rec/
Supplement Safety Now:  http://www.supplementsafetynow.com/
Taylor Hooton Foundation:  http://taylorhooton.org/
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:  http://www.jneb.org/  
American Journal of Sports Medicine:  http://ajs.sagepub.com/  
American Society for Nutritional Sciences:  http://www.nutrition.org/  
Journal of American College of Nutrition:  http://www.am-coll-nutr.org/  
Journal of Applied Physiology:  http://jap.physiology.org/  
Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior:  http://www.jneb.org/
Journal of the American Dietetic Association:  http://www.adajournal.org/
Physician and Sports Medicine:  http://www.physsportsmed.com/   
Nutrition Action:  http://cspinet.org/nah/index.htm  

News Letters
Nutrition Action Health Letter:  http://www.cspinet.org/