With the heavy pressure to perform, many athletes resort to overuse of stimulants and prescription drugs to keep going. Sports, especially team sports, are grueling and demand long days of intense physical activity during both training and game times. The average pro athlete uses prescription drugs in over twice the quantities of the non-athlete. Pain relievers, anti-inflammatory medication, and anti-asthma and anti-allergy medication are amongst the most commonly taken substances, and virtually all athletes use caffeine and other energy-boosting blends to cope with too little sleep and too much physical activity.
Everyone has heard about a coach pushing their players harder and longer than is healthy — sometimes to the breaking point. In team sports, there is a lot of social pressure placed upon members of the team to uphold the standard. Anybody who falls behind is the weak link, the one who brings the whole team down. Between this stigma and the high expectations of the coach, athletes are pressured to perform — and sometimes they turn to “quick fixes” like prescription drugs and stimulants.
Prescription drugs can relieve the pain and swelling of injuries that your body doesn’t have time to heal before getting back into the game. They can give bursts of energy when you’re feeling tired, and keep you awake for more hours per day so that you can get in more practice time. Unfortunately, when taken in excess, prescription drugs often have dangerous side effects. Some can cause failure of major organs such as the kidneys and liver. Some can become addictive, and then even when the side effects set in and you know they’re hurting you, you can’t stop taking them.
Before you use drugs and stimulants during sports, consider this: if the idea of losing a game sounds like it’ll upset your team, imagine what they would think if you had to go into prescription drug rehab.