A North Jersey congressman is joining with six other congressman in backing an anti-opioid abuse strategy among student athletes.

U.S. Rep. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J. 5th District, says when young athletes are injured, the insidious lure of painkilling opioids can create another threat: addiction.

"We have got to take care of our kids, and we have to work with coaches and doctors and parents and other student athletes to make sure that they understand," he said.

"We love our athletes. I love watching the tournaments ... But what happens is, just like with anything, they get injured."

Gottheimer says he has heard from a number of families about their student athletes getting hooked on these addictive painkillers.

He is calling on the federal Department of Health and Human Services to craft a pilot program to combat this abuse, to "make some recommendations for better coordination, for better information that we can get to these coaches and parents and student doctors, so that we know when a problem exists and what we do about it."

Gottheimer also wants up-to-date federal info on student athlete opioid abuse. And he wants HHS to report on current pilot programs to battle student athlete opioid abuse, information that can be disseminated to universities and coaches about "what is working" in this drug abuse battle.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5