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NFL Culture of Drug Abuse?

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Former NFL players filed suit against the organization recently, calling the National Football League a “culture of drug misuse.” The players claim that NFL doctors handed out painkillers to them when they were hurt in order to mask the pain of an injury rather than offering intensive medical treatment that could take the player out of the game. 


In the lawsuit, the players say that they have suffered significantly, both physically and emotionally, because those initial injuries worsened without proper treatment and many developed a dependence upon the painkillers as well.


Painkiller Addiction


Lawsuits based on painkiller prescriptions are becoming fairly common, but the case against the NFL is different from others that seek to place blame for someone’s addiction – or overdose due to addiction – on the person who gave them the drugs. In this case, the players are saying that they were often given these painkillers without their knowledge and without any information about the nature of the pills or the danger they posed if taken regularly or in large amounts. 


In most cases, the person sought out the pills or accepted the drugs with full knowledge of what they were, choosing to take the risk. If it can be proven that the players were given these heavy-duty painkillers to enable them to get back on the field before they were fully healed and without their knowledge or consent, it’s highly unlikely that the NFL will be able to escape without paying a hefty sum in damages and changing their medical practices with current players. 


Emotional Damages


The emotional and psychological aspects of addiction are just as scarring as the physical issues that the players would have developed from poorly treated football injuries. Cravings for the drug, the feeling that one can’t be without them, and the experience of living with chronic pain can be all-consuming, making it difficult to imagine life without the painkillers. 


This kind of devastation is hard to put a price on, in terms of asking for damages in court, but in the court documents, the players allege that the League’s revenue went from $1.5 billion to $9 billion with projections to grow to $27 billion by 2027 – it’s clear that they think the NFL can afford a big payout given that this income was based on their ability to perform. 


When There’s No One to Blame


Most who develop a drug dependence will not begin their addiction by being drugged repeatedly against their will. For most who struggle with addiction, there’s no one person to blame for the development of the disorder. Every person makes the choice to try a drug initially. They may do so in order to find relief from mental health symptoms or trauma or to feel more comfortable in social situations. They may continue to drink or get high due to permissive attitudes of those around them or a genetic predisposition to the development of drug dependence. Various issues work together to create a drug dependence.


Ultimately, it’s not as important to identify the cause of the disorder as it is to identify the solution. Intensive treatment can help addicts and alcoholics to get their lives back. Contact us at Futures now and learn more about our comprehensive treatment programs and how your loved one can benefit.


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