Opioid Abuse in Athletics – 580

Ever experienced Opioid Abuse?

Dr. Obie Benavides lost a student-athlete to opioid abuse that was an inspiration to him.

One single pill that was not from a pharmacy but a “friend” was all it took to end his life in March of 2018.

Dr. Benavides has spoken at conferences and guest posted on The ATVantage and NATA blogs

Opioid Abuse; Obie Benavides; Lamar University; opiates

What Opioid Abuse?

Opioids / Opiates are similar but not identical.

Opioids are synthetic chemicals whereas opiates are plant-based or naturally occurring from opium

Using them other than as prescribed is opioid abuse.

  • Using them for longer than prescribed
  • Giving them to someone else
  • Hoarding them for later use
  • Selling them

What does it LOOK like?

Obie says some of the signs and symptoms of opioid abuse might present as:

  • Pupils being off
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Requestion medication by name and dosage
  • Being absent
  • withdrawing
  • Itching
  • Dry Mouth
  • Low Tetosterone levels

What can we do as Athletic Trainers?

Patient Education is number one.

  • Develop a Post-op Pain Management Plan
    • There will be some level of pain
    • Medications will help manage the pain
    • Use pills as needed for this surgery
    • Properly dispose of unused pills
    • Do not share unused pills with anyone
  • Start the dialogue with the athlete before the surgery
  • Involve the parents
  • Educate Parents
  • Establish Real Pain Management Goals
  • Monitor the athletes
    • Attend surgeries when possible
  • Log the procedure and medications prescribed
  • Follow up within a week and document number of times meds have been used

Be willing to have uncomfortable conversations

ATsCare is a great resource for learning to have uncomfortable conversations.

Be willing to ask questions.

Watch the conversation live on Facebook



ATsCare (https://www.nata.org/membership/about-membership/member-resources/ats-care),

The Drug Enforcement Agency website (https://apps.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/pubdispsearch/)

Contact Us

Obie Benavides, DAT, LAT, ATC, AIB-VR/CON
Associate Athletic Trainer – Baseball
Drug Prevention & Education Coordinator
Lamar University
211 Red Bird Lane | PO Box 10066 | Beaumont, TX 77710
O: 409-880-7229
F: 409-880-2366

Jeremy Jackson

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