Conference to Highlight Risks of Opioid Misuse Among Youth Athletes

Sports can serve an important role in a child’s development. In addition to providing healthy forms of exercise, athletics foster friendships and camaraderie, promote sportsmanship and fair play, and instill the value of competition.

However, sports may also lead to injury and, in rare cases, result in pain that is severe or long-lasting enough to require a prescription opioid painkiller. Studies have found that youth who participate in athletics may be at a greater risk to engage in nonmedical prescription opioid use because of greater risk of injury or because of a greater opportunity to receive diverted opioid medications from teammates. A recent national study found that youth who participated in high-injury sports, such as football and wrestling, were at greater risk to misuse prescription pain medications.

With this information in mind, it is vital that adults involved in youth sports are aware of the risks of prescription opioids, as well as the signs and symptoms of opioid misuse, dependence and addiction.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, in collaboration with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and the Opioid Education Foundation of America, will be hosting a conference about opioid and athletes, “Keeping New Jersey Youth Athletes Safe,” from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, April 19 at the Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City.

This event is open to coaches, athletic directors, athletic trainers and anyone involved in youth and high school sports. It will be a great opportunity to learn about the opioid epidemic, how its has affected athletes and what can be done to keep young athletes safe and healthy. Speakers will include former NFL quarterback Ray Lucas and national opioid expert Dr. Andrew Kolodny.

For more information and to register to attend, visit Please share this information with those involved in youth sports in your community.

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