AustinPUG Health

AustinPUG Health


Professional athletes seem to be lightning rods for controversy. Whether it involves women, contract disputes, dog fighting, or prescription drug abuse, the list seems to go on and on.

Because of the amount of injuries that athletes inevitably amass over their careers, they are prescribed many drugs to treat their various injuries. Unfortunately, it seems that this has resulted in prescription drug abuse and the problem seems to have only gotten worse and worse. Although the focus has usually been on anabolic steroids, painkillers are also becoming a major concern for abuse.

Connection Between Athletes And Drugs

The connection between professional athletes and painkillers is pretty obvious. Athletes are always expected to perform at the highest level, no matter how much pain they are in, to get any sort of job security.

This means that they regularly are prescribed painkillers to try to play through the pain of their injuries. Professional sports, such as football, basketball, and baseball generate major amounts of money in the United States, and the stakes are high for teams to win games.

Pain Creates The Drug Use

While pain might be the initial reason that athletes abuse prescription drugs, the abuse comes in when athletes take more than prescribed in a bid to impress their peers, coaches, and fans. Physicians should be encouraged to explore non-prescription drug solutions to pain, such as a pain block to a specific area of an athlete’s body, to lower the amounts of drugs being prescribed.

What also should be remembered, is that besides being illegal, abusing prescription drugs can result in death. Athletes are putting their lives at risk, especially when using a drug called nitrites.

Nitrites Increase Performance

Athletes use nitrites to increase their performance, but side effects can include coma, convulsions, or even death. Athletes have been reported to take up to twenty-six different supplements, which could easily become a lethal cocktail of drugs that could have long-term consequences.

The list of athletes who have been caught abusing drugs includes a who’s who of athletes, and the list just continues to grow and grow. Some athletes who have been caught include:

  • Lance Armstrong
  • Alex Rodriguez
  • Alistair Overeem

Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong, in particular, has experienced a harrowing fall from grace. He was particularly revered not only as an athlete, but a role-model for founding the Livestrong Foundation and supporting cancer patients, while bravely fighting his own diagnosis with cancer.

Long plagued by drug abuse allegations, Armstrong seemed always to be clean, passing over six hundred drug tests that he had taken over his career. But recently he had finally admitted to performance enhancing drugs, thus destroying his image and his legacy.

Alex Rodriguez

Baseball player Alex Rodriguez tested positive for anabolic steroids and testosterone. Testosterone is somewhat of a gray area when it comes abuse, because in some cases athletes can take it legally if prescribed by their doctor.

Alistair Overeem

Dutch MMA fighter Alistair Overeem is another professional athlete who had his career derailed by prescription drug abuse. Overeem has long been accused of abusing steroids, due to his remarkable physical transformation from light heavyweight to heavyweight.

He appeared to morph from having a physique like the comic book character Robin to the Incredible Hulk. Of course, he always denied the charges. Having fought much of his career in Japan, where drug abuse testing is lax, he recently signed with the UFC.

Getting Caught

With the more rigorous drug testing, he was finally caught. He had a 14-1 ratio of testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio, which is off the charts compared to the maximum legal ratio of 6-to-1. He blamed it, of course, on his doctor for prescribing an anti-inflammatory drug that was mixed with testosterone. This just made him the latest professional athlete to abuse prescription drugs, and of course blame the doctor for everything.

Professional athletes have been blessed with extraordinary physical gifts that most people can only dream of having. But athletes also are under extreme amounts of pressure to perform and combined with the revenue sports generate, it has created an ugly atmosphere geared towards winning at all costs. This is why prescription drug abuse only continues to rise in sports.

Ken Seeley, as seen on A&E’s television Intervention, is a board certified expert interventionist learn more at Intervention 911. Keep up with Ken Seely by joining in his Google Plus Circle.

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