Tag Archives: NFL

NFL Team Joins Prescription Drug Abuse Fight

inrxtfWith the ongoing media attention the NFL is receiving for allegedly providing players with illegal prescriptions of narcotic painkillers, the Colts have spoken out against prescription drug abuse. As we reported earlier, several former NFL players have accused the NFL of keeping them medicated on the prescription painkillers without allowing for healing time on game-related injuries and handing out opiates without a prescription. The Colts have partnered up with the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force to warn of the dangers of prescription drug abuse and highlight the growing problem in Indiana.

Nearly 1,000 Indiana residents died from prescription drug abuse-related causes in 2012 alone, a number that has doubled in less than a decade. Indiana physicians have caused the state to be ranked in the top ten in the country when it comes to the amount of prescription painkillers that are prescribed. Perhaps due to the amount of prescriptions that are being written, Indiana is also 17th when it comes to overdoses in the country. These alarming statistics have prompted the NFL team and Attorney General Greg Zoeller to speak up and take a stand against prescription drug abuse.

“Teaming with the Colts and their professional athletes will allow us to focus public attention on this epidemic and the need to help those held in the grip of pain and addiction. My hope is that, with the support of the Colts we can save many lives from this growing problem” explains Zoeller.

Colts owner and CEO, Jim Irsay, is proud to be speaking out against prescription drug abuse. He stated that when you look at the numbers it is clear that prescription drug abuse is not just affecting one section of the population. Prescription drug abuse is widespread and a problem that many Indiana residents are dealing with. Using the Colts as a platform for change is something that will reach more than one group of people. One way that the Colts are supporting an anti-prescription drug abuse campaign is by supporting the Indiana Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force during “Colts City”. The task force will have a booth and be passing around flyers as well as answering any questions.

Skeptics might think this is more of a PR move by the team, especially since Irsay was arrested in March and charged with a DUI. He claimed he hasn’t had any alcohol in over a decade, but declined to comment about what substance he had consumed. Hopefully this marks a turning point for his personal recovery and also serve as an example for other NFL franchises to follow regarding combating prescription drug abuse.

Retired NFL Players Speak Up About Painkiller Abuse in the League, File Lawsuit

nflThe National Football League (NFL) is under fire after retired players filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking reparations for the effects of the league’s cavalier use of prescription painkillers, which many claim have caused long term health problems, and in some cases, addiction. The former players say that the league illegally supplied them with risky narcotics and other painkillers that numbed their injuries so they could continue to play.

In the lawsuit, the men claim that they were commonly pushed back on the field after being given pain medication, even after serious injuries. The players claim that in these cases, they were not told how bad their injuries were or what the side effects of the medications are. One says that instead of surgery, he was given anti-inflammatories and skipped practices so he could play in games. Others say that they retired from the league addicted to painkillers after years of receiving them for free.

Of the men who are named in the lawsuit, three are members of the NFL champion 1985 Chicago Bears: Hall of Fame defensive end Richard Dent, offensive lineman Keith Van Horne and quarterback Jim McMahon. The lawsuit only names eight players, but more than 500 other former players have signed on to the suit.

Van Horne played an entire season on a broken leg and wasn’t told about the injury for five years, “during which time he was fed a constant diet of pills to deal with the pain,” the lawsuit says. Six of the eight named plaintiffs were also plaintiffs in concussion-related litigation, including McMahon and Van Horne.

In addition to financial damages, the lawsuit seeks an injunction creating an NFL-funded testing and monitoring program to help prevent addiction and injuries and disabilities related to the use of painkillers. The lawsuit seeks class-action status for any retired players who received anti-inflammatories, narcotic painkillers, local anesthetics, sleeping aids or other drugs without prescription, independent diagnosis or warnings about side effects or the risks associated with mixing with other drugs.

ESPN Covers NFL Players’ Substance Abuse

painkillersespnotlA couple of years ago, ESPN’s special report Outside The Lines did a story on prescription drug abuse by former NFL players. The focus was mainly on pain medication and was the result of a study they commissioned along with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

The study was conducted by researchers at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine and led by Linda Cottler, a professor of epidemiology in the school’s Department of Psychiatry.

From March to August 2010, Cottler’s research team interviewed 644 former NFL players by telephone. The players who participated in the research retired from the NFL between 1979 and 2006, played an average of more than seven seasons, and averaged 48 years old at the time.

Among several revelations, the study found that more than half of the retired players said they used prescription pain medication during their playing days. Of those, over 70 percent said they misused the drugs then, and 15 percent of those admitted to still misusing the medication within the past 30 days.

The subject of drug use and sports has continued to heat up in recent years. Professional athletes are typically faced with much more extreme circumstances that make them more vulnerable to developing substance abuse issues. On one hand they have a much higher level of income and access to parties, while on the other they have an increased rate of injuries as well.

ESPN also recently featured a letter from New York Jets back-up quaterback Eric Ainge where he detailed his past substance abuse.

Ainge concluded his letter with, “The reason I decided to speak so openly about this is because I want to bring awareness to mental health and the disease of addiction. Kids and athletes need to know it’s OK to ask for help and to talk to somebody about what’s going on in their lives. I was afraid to talk before, but through my NA program and God, I’m not afraid to ask for help or talk openly anymore.”

If you or someone you love has a substance abuse problem, contact Desert Cove Recovery today to get started on the path to a better life.