Fairwinds Treatment Center tries to emphasize to our patients that their addictions and disorders do not make them inferior or immoral human beings. Unfortunately, patients suffering from these problems are often stigmatized and treated as though their illnesses are entirely the result of bad decisions and poor character, when in fact the causes of addiction are much more complicated and often beyond the patient's control.
Hopefully, a new lawsuit being brought against the NFL by its former players will ignite a productive conversation about the conditions that lead individuals to become addicted to drugs. The lawsuit alleges that the NFL and its teams not only condoned excessive use of painkiller medication by players, but provided them with prescription drugs in heavy doses in order to mitigate the physical trauma of playing professional football.
"We took pills to go to sleep, we took pills to play, we took pills at halftime, we took pills after the game," J.D. Hill, a former player with the Buffalo Bills whose career lasted from 1971 to 1977, told Fox News. "We had no idea that the drugs and the substances that we were taking were going to cause long-term effects."
If the allegations are true, does that mean the NFL is responsible for the addictions that developed from these practices? That question will likely dominate discussion of this story. It's easy to imagine some will argue that the players should have been more careful about accepting medications in such large quantities that had such potent effects.
Yet it's hard to imagine the kind of pressure that these players were under to perform on a weekly basis and play through injury. Missing games means missing paydays, and for players whose careers last only a few years (at a time when they weren't as handsomely compensated as they are now), every game missed could mean serious financial losses.
Furthermore, the carelessness with which the drugs were reportedly handed out seems to indicate that there was no concern about how they might affect the mental health of individuals who may have been more susceptible to addiction. Obviously, any time medication is given to a patient, the doctor should first check their medical and mental health history to ensure that they can handle the dosage without severe side effects. Needless to say, it doesn't sound like such precautions were taken with these players.
Anyone who is struggling with addiction should ignore the stigma and instead focus on confronting their illness and recovering. It's also important to recognize that you need help. Taking advantage of the services offered by dual diagnosis treatment centers like Fairwinds Treatment Center in Clearwater, Florida, will vastly improve your chances of overcoming your disease.