that these athletes are at a greater risk to engage in NUPO because of physical and emotional stresses of high-level competition and the inevitable subsequent injuries associated with high-school athletics. Peer pressure and assumed normative behavior may also influence the relationship between adolescent athletes and drug use.
In a 2014 survey, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that approximately 27 million Americans aged 12 or older reported illicit drug use within the past 30 days and 4.3 million Americans aged 12 or older reported NUPO pain relievers. The survey also found that 12th graders who play ice hockey have substantially greater odds of past-year heroin use, past-year NUPO as well as past-year co-occurring NUPO and heroin use.
Veliz and his research team believe that “efforts should be directed at appropriate use and disposal,” of prescription drugs, in order to prevent NUPO and future heroin use among athletes.