Muscle Sport Magazine

Drug Addiction and Athletes: A Dangerous Trend

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Drug addiction is becoming much more prevalent in athletes across the world today. Sports medicine has become increasingly precise, making athletes feel even more pressure to perform well. Drug addiction in athletes can be caused by different reasons – whether it be doping for enhanced performance, coping with stress or a mental illness or physical pain. It is becoming a dangerous trend that needs to be addressed. If athletes are abusing drugs, they can’t perform at their best. Here are some reasons why athletes suffer from drug addiction:


Doping is one of the most common forms of drug addiction in athletes. Doping is understood as using any performance enhancing drug that would give an athlete an unfair advantage. In a study it shows that 9% of professional football players have self-reported using anabolic steroids at some point in their career. Continuing on, a shocking 67% of power lifters have self-reported using anabolic steroids at some point in their career. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibits the use of any anabolic steroids. If you would like to read more about drugs that are prohibited in competition, click here.


Athletes have a tremendous pressure to perform well every single day. It can be a very stressful and demanding profession. Stress and other mental illnesses can be very hard to cope with, especially if you aren’t seeking help. Most often, athletes are treated for their physical conditions, but not for their mental conditions. It can be seen as taboo that an athlete seeks psychological help because it can seem weak. That is why athletes tend cope with drugs and alcohol. In a study, it shows that between 75% to 93% of college athletes have self-reported consuming alcohol in the span of a year. While alcohol isn’t an illegal substance, it can lead to serious addiction that can impair performance and your overall health. Further, athletes are known to use Adderall to stimulate the brain to focus and overcome fatigue. The study also shows that athletes are using cannabis and other substances to cope. Coping with mental illness isn’t always easy, especially in the public eye with pressure from fans, coaches, family and friends.


Pain is something that is incredibly common in athletes. Athletes train constantly, which causes wear and tear on the body. Not to mention athletes involved in contact sports. Injuries are a common part of the job. However, athletes are expected to perform no matter their condition. Athletes are pressured to work through the pain in order to maintain their status, because it is a highly competitive and highly replaceable profession. Pain can be debilitating, which can put an athlete’s career on the line. That is why often times athletes turn to pain medications. While pain medication is sometimes necessary, it can turn even the best athlete into a serious addict. Opiates are among the most addictive substances. In a study, it shows that 52% of professional football players self-reported using opiates at some point in their career. Further, 71% of those self-reported misusing opiates at some point in their career. If you would like to read more into these statistics, click here.

While athletes may feel like they don’t have anywhere to turn, there are many resources available for athletes that may suffer from addiction. Athletes that suffer with addiction are risking their lives and their livelihoods by not seeking help. If you are an athlete struggling with addiction, or know an athlete that is, click here to read more information on athletes and addicts as well as information on contacting agencies that can help.


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