Teen athletes are frequently prescribed narcotics for sports-related injuries, making them prime candidates for opioid addiction and abuse.
One study indicated that this demographic is 50% more likely to abuse prescription painkillers than their non-athletic peers. This shocking statistic can be attributed in part to their desire to get back to the sport as soon as possible after injury in order to please the coach, their family, etc.
Additionally, the area of the brain responsible for reasoning and impulse control is not yet fully developed in teenagers, leaving them more susceptible to engaging in risk-taking behaviors such as opioid abuse.
For injuries in which opioid use is truly necessary, experts recommend filling prescriptions in small amounts and calling the prescribing physician for more as needed; this tactic lessens the likelihood of abuse and encourages direct communication between the healthcare professional and the patient.