Exercise decreases probability to shift from prescription opioids to heroin in teens: Study

Exercise decreases probability to shift from prescription opioids to heroin in teens: Study

It is important to lead an active life during teenage as it helps keep numerous illnesses at bay. However, the importance of being active and exercise increases when it has a direct relationship with the probability of a person to develop addiction. With the opioid abuse becoming a grave concern among American adolescents, it is important to take adequate steps that will help them lead a drug-free life.

Previous studies have claimed that adolescents involved in sports and exercise may be at a greater risk of engaging in nonmedical prescription opioid use (NPOU) or of turning toward heroin addiction. This was because of the common belief that as athletes are at a greater risk of injury, they have a higher tendency to engage in opioid abuse. However, a recent study, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), refuted all such claims by demonstrating that teen athletes are, in fact, less likely to switch to nonmedical use of opioid painkillers or heroin.

Physical activity acts as protective shield against opioid addiction

To analyze whether active teens develop heroin addiction later in life, the scientists used the data from Monitoring the Future study that comprised 18 cross-sections of students in eighth or tenth grades during 1997-2014. All the participants were questioned about their participation in rigorous activities, lifetime NPOU, lifetime heroin use, as well as age at which both NPOU and heroin abuse first appeared.

The results of the study titled “Nonmedical Prescription Opioid and Heroin Use Among Adolescents Who Engage in Sports and Exercise,” published in Pediatrics in July 2016, showed that the participants who were involved in sports or physical activities were at a lower risk of NPOU and heroin addiction. Most of the participants were found to be athletic in a year prior to the survey – almost 53.3 percent of participants were engaged in sports and exercise nearly each day of the week, 38.8 percent were involved in sports and exercise at least once a week and 7.9 percent were not found to be involved in any kind of sports or exercise.

Clearly, there was a significant decline in both lifetime NPOU and heroin abuse among the teenagers who were into sports and exercise. It is evident from the study that participation in sports and being active may offer significant protection from prescription drugs and heroin abuse. In fact, sports that involve a lot of physical activity and growth of positive social relationships can restrain teenagers from getting habituated to prescription drugs, heroin or cocaine.

It was for the first time that trends in lifetime prescription drug use and heroin use were analyzed among U.S. adolescents involved in sports and exercise. The study was also the first to determine whether the risk of initiating heroin use was associated with a history of prior prescription drug abuse in adolescents involved in sports and exercise.

Leading a drug-free life

More Americans die of opioid overdoses than road accidents each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has classified opioid abuse as an epidemic, while the World Health Organization (WHO) suggests that these drugs have threatened the achievements of modern medicines.

If you or your loved one is addicted to opioids, it is necessary to seek instant help from one of the recognized prescription drug abuse treatment centers in Florida. The Florida Prescription Addiction Helpline can guide you to one of the best drug rehab centers in Florida that can help you get addiction-free. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-292-3211 or chat online for treatment options in your area.

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