MLB working with White House to reduce opioid overdoses

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The White House announced in a Tuesday press release that is working with Major League Baseball in an effort to reduce opioid overdoses in the United States.

The release cited that the league is now requiring teams to have the drug naloxone stored in multiple locations across the clubhouse, and for team trainers to carry the drug. Naloxone rapidly reduces overdose effects.

MLB is also partnering with The White House on an ad campaign to highlight naloxone and other drugs that serve the same purpose, according to a report from Sports Illustrated. The partnership is part of The White House’s Challenge to Save Lives from Overdose initiative.

“I can’t think of a more important public health issue than this particular one,” Jon Coyles, MLB’s vice president of drug health and safety programs told Sports Illustrated. “I think our experience and our focus on naloxone in our industry will hopefully, just because of the public-facing nature of baseball, help with the public awareness and contribute to the national conversation on this.”

MLB and the MLB Players Association agreed in 2020 to start testing players for pain pills and other drugs of abuse, with non-punitive punishments. That decision was made following the 2019 death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who had been abusing pain medication. He ingested a lethal dose of Fentanyl, according to the medical examiner. Former Angels communications director Eric Kay is serving a 22-year sentence for providing Skaggs with the pills.

Coyles told Sports Illustrated that opioid use in the game remains low, and that no player has needed naloxone yet. SI also reported that the league partnered with a non-profit called Song for Charlie, which raises awareness for young people about synthetic and dangerous pills.

(Top photo: AP Photo / Kyusung Gong)

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