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Tempe Union High School Distict mandating student-athletes take opioid quiz before tryouts

Posted at 5:24 PM, Feb 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-21 20:28:43-05

High school sports is a big part of life for a lot of students.

Desert Vista High School is one of the schools in the Tempe Union High School District that will soon require every student-athlete and their parents to take -- and pass -- an opioid protocol quiz before trying out for a team.

"Obviously you're dealing with student-athletes who spend probably 2-3 hours with you," said Raymond Patche II, the girls' basketball coach at Desert Vista High School. "Those other 21-22 hours are very important so that  - that parent is fully understanding of the danger, the benefits, the pros and cons of everything."

Parents and students already have to sign-off on a concussion quiz before playing a sport. This would be a similar requirement and what the district believes is another step in protecting students.

Under the plan, if a student-athlete is prescribed an opioid, the school will know how many pills were prescribed, how long the student will be taking them and when they should be off the medicine. Parents will also learn signs of addiction and withdrawal.

The school says this keeps everyone on the same page in keeping the athlete healthy.

Joel Navarro is a Tempe City Council member who has made it his mission to get a hold of the opioid crisis.

"We're pinpointing opioids to give real awareness on how hard the addiction can grab someone," said Navarro. "After one or two pills, you might be grabbed."

Just in the last eight months, 934 people have died in Arizona from an opioid overdose. Most are adults, but Navarro and the district say, this new plan might stop an addiction before it starts.

"You have the ability to educate," said Navaroo. "Educate what it does. Educate why."

On Monday, the district is going to talk with the Arizona Interscholastic Association about their opioid protocol. From there, it's possible this plan will be required in other districts across Arizona