Prescription Drug Abuse in the National Football League

The National Football League (NFL) stated that 7 percent of its players have abused prescription painkillers  according to a report by the Washington Post. The rate of abuse was three times higher than the general population.

In a 2010 study conducted by the Washington University School of Medicine, former NFL players were found to have been abusing pain pills at a rate of more than 4 times members of the general population  52 percent of former players also reported to using opioids during their playing career, with 71 percent reporting that they misused the drugs.

The Washington Post conducted a survey of over 500 former players and found that one in four reported that they took prescription medication that they were not comfortable taking after feeling pressure from team doctors.

(More prescription drug abuse statistics.)

Source:  Sally Jenkins and Rick Maese, “Pain and pain management in NFL spawn a culture of prescription drug use and abuse,” Washington Post, April 13, 2013.