Issues Related to Drug Abuse in College Athletics: Athletes at Risk

in The Sport Psychologist
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In recent years drug abuse by college athletes has received greater attention. Because of the recognition of the growing problem of drug use in athletics, the new NCAA drug testing policy, and recent deaths of elite athletes, the sport psychologist should be prepared to deal with this issue. In many college settings the sport psychologist may be expected to provide support with counseling or participate in the development of a drug abuse prevention program for student athletes. Therefore sport psychologists need to closely examine the factors that may predispose athletes toward using drugs, understand the role of prevention, and develop a thorough knowledge of positive, viable alternatives to drugs. This article addresses five important issues that relate to drug abuse in college athletics: (a) why athletes are at risk, (b) athletic leadership and its relationship to substance abuse, (c) the role of the sport psychologist, (d) issues related to the effectiveness of drug education for athletes, and (e) recommendations for athlete drug education programs.

Ray Tricker is Director of Drug Education and David L. Cook is Director of Sport Psychology at the University of Kansas, 160 Robinson Ctr., Lawrence, KS 66045. Rick McGuire is Head Track Coach with the Athletic Department, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65201.

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