As a follow-up to the National Football League (NFL) lawsuit in which former players accuse the league of using painkillers to mask athletes’ injuries so the players could “play through the pain”, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is now investigating who distributed and provided those drugs. (Read more in a Washington Post article.)
At Abrams Landau, Ltd., our business is helping injured people. We know from years of experience working with clients who suffer from both short-term and chronic pain that the use of pain medication is not without its problems. According to athletes’ lawyer Doug Landau,
“Painkillers like Percodan, Vicodin, etc. can be addictive and there are risks associated with long term use. The symptoms we see, along with our injured clients’ medical histories, bear out the difficult balance between pain control and controlled substance abuse. Plus, once a long-term painkiller user builds up a tolerance to the efficacy of the medication, they need more and more pills. This, in turn, puts an additional strain on the digestive system, liver and stomach lining.”
In the case of a professional athlete, it is easy to imagine that pressure from team doctors — much like the pressure we see exerted by insurance company nurses who try to medically manage a disabled workers’ comp claim — would cause problems with patients’ physical AND mental health, not to mention the doctor-patient relationship.
Those who distributed and/or provided the drugs to NFL players without proper medical supervision should be held accountable for their actions.