New Video Seeks To Educate Student Athletes On Opioid Use

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TRENTON – Student athletes and their parents will have to watch a video on opioid use before the fall sports season starts.

Athletes are more at risk for opioid abuse due to injuries. The partnership between the Office of the New Jersey Coordinator for Addiction Responses and Enforcement Strategies and the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association will bring that video to high school athletes to educate them on the risks of becoming addicted to prescription pain medications.

Currently, schools that participate in interscholastic sports programs must give athletes and cheerleaders the Department of Education’s Opioid Use and Misuse Educational Fact sheet. That sheet provides information on how students obtain opioids, signs of abuse, and how to reduce injuries.

The video, which will be screened starting in the 2019-20 sports season, will also include ways to dispose of unused and unwanted prescription drugs, how to make informed decisions on opioid use, and providing emotional support for injured players.

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“We’re pleased to announce the NJSIAA as our latest ally in the fight to end New Jersey’s opioid crisis,” Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said. “This partnership has opened a new front for our battle against addiction – high school athletic playing fields across the state. We look forward to working with the NJSIAA to protect young athletes and end this deadly epidemic.”

“Studies have shown that the prevalence of sports injuries put student athletes at a higher risk of opioid use and misuse,” Sharon Joyce, Director of NJ CARES, said. “Our partnership with the NJSIAA will help raise awareness and educate students and parents on how to prevent sports injuries from leading young athletes down the path to addiction.”

“Data clearly demonstrates that scholastic athletes are particularly vulnerable to the scourge of opioid abuse,” NJSIAA Executive Director Larry White said. “When we began speaking with NJ Cares about development of a video for these students and their families, it was clear this was a terrific opportunity. We’re delighted to be collaborating on an initiative that I’m confident will have positive impact on the lives of many young people across our state.”

The NJSIAA is a voluntary, nonprofit organization comprised of 437 accredited public, private, and parochial high schools and nearly 300,000 student athletes.