DeAndre Levy on league usage of opioid painkillers: ‘I think it’s something that needs to be addressed’

Detroit Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy, who has been extremely vocal about his stance on CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), is now taking a stand on opioid painkillers and their usage across the league.

“I think it’s something that needs to be addressed,” he told the Detroit Free Press. “I know players, former, current and it was a time where it was very, very easy to get as many painkillers as you needed, as many sleeping pills as you needed. And if we’re talking about the health of our players, past their playing career, I think it’s definitely something that needs to at least be acknowledged and something looked into as there’s a lot of viable and growing body of research supporting it.”

Opioid pain killers, which are generally considered to be stronger than regular pain killers, work by binding to receptors in the brain and spinal cord. They are generally used to control mild to severe pain.

After missing the majority of the 2015 season with a hip injury, Levy went through rehab without the usage of opioid painkillers, most of which are generally prescribed by doctors across the NFL.

“I stay away from pills,” Levy said. “That’s a bigger issue, but I try to stay away from them. It’s too easy to prescribe. Painkillers. Toradol. It’s just putting a Band-Aid on something, but we’re potentially developing a bigger issue for players when they’re done.”

He also told Pro Football Talk that the long-term implications of opioids are the main reason that he has chosen to abstain from usage.

“And if we’re talking about the health of our players, past their playing career, I think it’s definitely something that needs to at least be acknowledged and something looked into as there’s a lot of viable and growing body of research supporting it.”

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New Lions offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz revealed that he was prescribed opioids after breaking his leg last season while playing for the New York Giants. “I had major trauma,” he said. “I had to get something for the pain. It’s more, I used it more just to sleep at night, but then when I got to a certain point where I was fine I just, I’m done with them. I have good self-control that way. I can see where they’re addicting, but I’ve been pretty fortunate to just kind of be able to put them off to the side.”

As one of the most vocal players in the league, Levy has also made public his thoughts on sexual assault, as well as his thoughts on CTE and NFL’s policies for reporting concussions/head injuries.

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