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Opioid Abuse in Baseball: Los Angeles Angels

The opioid epidemic continues to spread at a staggering rate. More than 10 million people abuse opioids and opiates every year in the US. Among those people are professional sports players, especially those in Major League Baseball.

Contact The Detox Center of Los Angeles today at (888) 346-4350 to learn how to access our addiction treatment programs.

How Common is Opioid Abuse in Baseball?

Major League Baseball is not new to drug scandals. For many years, it felt like every week there was a new player to test positive for steroids. Today, there have been more and more players testing positive for opioids and opiates. Back in 2019, 27-year-old pitcher Tyler Skaggs, a player for the Los Angeles Angels, died due to asphyxiation and a combination of opioids and alcohol. While there aren’t any statistics about opioid usage, there has been a growing number of issues with opioids, although it seems to be on par with the general population. However, there are other reasons why MLB players are using them, including self-medicating from pressure and issues with injuries.

How Athletes Become Addicted to Opioids

Opioid Abuse in Baseball

How Athletes Become Addicted to Opioids

There are several risk factors that have contributed to MLB players being susceptible to opioid use disorder, including:

Demands of the Sport

MLB players must adhere to hectic schedules during their 25-week season which includes constant travel across time zones. Also, baseball players’ salary rests on their ability to perform, so they may turn to painkillers to mask pain and continue playing.


Celebrity status can get them anything they want, whenever they want, which can increase their risk of addiction.

Mental Disorders

Intense pressure in  Major League Baseball can result in the development of mental health disorders like anxiety and depression, so they may turn to opioids or other addictive substances to relieve symptoms of these disorders.


Addictive substance and drug use is nothing new in professional sports including Major League Baseball. Performance enhancing drugs like anabolic steroids and opioids are commonly used substances

Opioids in the Los Angeles Angels

Former LA Angels employee Eric Prescott Kay, a former Angels communications director for the team, was found guilty of providing fentanyl and oxycodone pills to Tyler Skaggs which led to his drug-related death. LA Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs was found unresponsive in his Texas hotel during an away game against the Texas Rangers. A toxicology report said Skaggs died of a mixture of alcohol, fentanyl, and oxycodone overdose which caused him to choke on his vomit. Autopsy reports found the presence of opioids and alcohol in his body.

During Eric Kay’s trial, testimony from five major league baseball players testified they received oxycodone pills from Eric Kay multiple times. One of the players, Matt Harvey, was on the witness stand. Harvey testified that he received oxycodone pills from Eric Kay, but also admitted to getting them for Tyler Skaggs. The MLB is working harder on cracking down on opioid use among its players by changing the league’s policies for drug testing and drug use.

Opioid Rehab and Detox in Los Angeles

As opioid addiction rates continue to rise, there has never been a greater need for proper addiction treatment centers. The Detox Center in Los Angeles offers comprehensive treatment plans for detoxing and recovery from heroin addiction. Our drug detox program helps clients safely and comfortably rid their bodies of opioids and allows for an easy transition into inpatient residential rehab. Our program includes 24/7 onsite nursing and on-call MD to ensure the withdrawal process is going as planned. Medication Assisted treatment can help ease withdrawals of opiates and opioids including severe pain and cravings. You can detox comfortably in a non-hospital setting with healthy meals prepared by a private chef.

If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid addiction, the sooner you get help, the better your chances of a full recovery. Please give us a call today to learn more about our intake process.


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Will my insurance cover treatment for addiction?

The Detox Center of L.A. accepts most major insurance providers and private healthcare policies. We offer free insurance verification as well as eligibility and benefits for both behavioral and mental health treatment services. Please fill out our insurance verification form here to verify your insurance.

What happens in addiction

Effective addiction treatment programs are tailored to each individual. Because of this, it will be a different experience for everyone. However, it generally involves a combination of detoxification, group and individual therapy, educational presentations, and aftercare planning in order to ensure long-term recovery. Upon arrival at The Detox Center of L.A., you can expect our professionally trained staff to create an individualized treatment plan based on your needs and treatment goals.