Report: DEA Investigating Prescription Drug Abuse in NFL Locker Rooms

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 13 2014 1:35 PM

Report: DEA Investigating Prescription Drug Abuse in NFL Locker Rooms

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Michael Bennett of the Seattle Seahawks is taken off the field on a stretcher.

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

The NFL is still grappling with the fallout from the health concerns of former players stemming from concussions and repeated blows to the head during their careers. The perception that the league endangers the health of its players—even knowingly so—hasn’t been helped by another class action lawsuit in May that alleges, as the New York Daily News reports, the league “illegally [provided] prescription drugs to keep players on the field without informing them of the long-term risks.”

On Sunday, the Daily News reports, the feds are even getting involved:

The Drug Enforcement Administration has quietly launched an investigation into the abuse of prescription medication in NFL locker rooms, three sources familiar with the probe told the Daily News. Agents from the DEA’s New York division are reaching out to former players to learn how NFL doctors and trainers get access to potent narcotics such as Percodan and Vicodin or anti-inflammatories such as Toradol, a nonaddictive prescription drug widely used around the league to treat pain.
The DEA’s investigation began shortly after attorneys representing about 1,300 NFL retirees filed a class-action lawsuit in San Francisco federal court on May 20… Court papers show team doctors and trainers widely distributed painkillers, sleeping pills and other drugs without warning players about the risk of addiction or the dangers of mixing powerful medications. The drugs numbed pain, allowing hurt players to return to the field, but they also led to aggravated injuries and created long-term health problems, the lawsuit claims.

Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.

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