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Chapter Objectives


Upon completion of this chapter, the student will have a basic understanding of the following:

  1. The types of people that tend to abuse social drugs.

  2. Some of the reasons why people use social drugs.

  3. The feelings and expectations people have when abusing drugs.

  4. Reasons why teenage athletes might choose to abuse social drugs.

  5. Reasons why collegiate athletes might choose to abuse social drugs.

  6. Social drug abuse patterns in high school and collegiate athletes.

  7. Suggestions for the athletic trainer's role in assisting a drug-abusing athlete.

"The great majority of people who use drugs never come to the attention of doctors, lawyers, and policemen."21 The use of social drugs by many in our society is almost a given fact in this new century. People find drug use as a method of gaining social acceptance, an escape from their perceived difficulties, or a habit they obtained inadvertently. In the context of this chapter the term "social drug" is limited to alcohol, tobacco (including smokeless tobacco), marijuana, cocaine, and some examples of the newer club drugs, for example, ecstasy. It would be impossible to discuss all of the social drugs in one chapter. There are entire books written specifically on each of the types of drugs discussed in this chapter. For more details about any of the specific social drugs the reader is encouraged to read one of the available books, articles or other print media available from numerous sources. The United States government has numerous web pages dedicated to curbing drug abuse and have a great deal of up-to-date information that may be found at the following web address: A text by Miller et al (2000) is an excellent source of information to gain a better understanding of the many factors relating to why adolescents begin a drug abuse way of life.

It is argued that most of the socially abused drugs do not have automatic, universal effects on everyone that uses them.10 That is to say, a person starting to abuse a drug for social reasons may not experience any type of the "claimed" effects until they actually learn and experience the effects that specific drug can have on their individual system. The athlete may have to use the drug on a number of occasions to experience the greatest effects from that drug. Many people who abuse a drug such as alcohol, tobacco, marijuana or similar drugs indicate the first time or first few times they use these drugs they do not experience any euphoric effect. Many relate they have a negative experience when using these drugs initially. It may take a number of drug use experiences for the athlete to begin experiencing any joyful effect, which is an indicator regarding the amount of drug use before he or she admits a problem exists. (Table 14–1)

Table 14–1Summary of ...

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