Report: DEA investigating prescription drug distribution in the NFL

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NFL locker rooms are reportedly the focus of a federal investigation into abuse of prescription medication.

The New York Daily News reports that the Drug Enforcement Administration has launched an investigation into the abuse of prescription medication in the NFL. Agents are talking to former players about how NFL doctors and trainers treat players with drugs like Percodan, Vicodin and Toradol, all of which players have said they are given by members of their teams’ medical staff.

“They want to find out who provided and distributed the drugs to football players,” one source told the newspaper.

The investigation began after a group of former players sued the NFL, saying they were not warned of possible side effects of taking the prescription medication that team doctors gave out. When that lawsuit was filed, it was easy to assume that the owners could make it go away with a settlement, just as they’ve managed to find a settlement to the concussion litigation that will satisfy most of the plaintiffs without bankrupting the league.

But a DEA investigation is very different, and potentially a much more serious problem for the NFL.

79 responses to “Report: DEA investigating prescription drug distribution in the NFL

  1. Running into each other at high speeds and taking copious amounts of narcotics…has a lingering effect. Who knew.

    The reality is that players knew, and know, how hard football is on the body. The average age of NFL players, as of 2011, was 55.

    And I bet 99.9% of them would do it all over again without thinking twice. They just wouldn’t spend all the money as fast…

  2. NFL trainers distribute pain pills to players?!? Filed under Shock and Awe.

  3. The NFL is showing that player safety is always a few rungs down on the priority list, no matter what they say and what cosmetic rule changes they make. A DEA investigation, if it confirms any of those allegations, I would think poses some serious risk to the league.

  4. I want to see how Rodger Gooddell is gonna spin this one. I guarantee if it was a player distributing weed the player would be crucified and banned for a long time.

  5. Toradol shouldn’t really be lumped in with the group of opiate painkillers. All toradol is is an anti inflammatory. Think ibuprofen but stronger. There is no risk of dependence with it. Now the other drugs, if a doctor isn’t prescribing them, and medical staff just has bottles of the stuff around to pass out, that could be a problem. If y’all remember didn’t Sean Payton get accused of digging into the teams supply, and during that investigation I remember hearing that the team did in fact have bottles for the players. Look these guys go thru pain most of us could never imagine, and I’m sure the use of opiate painkillers is more than warranted for most cases, the Feds will likely just make the league place stricter protocols on who gets what and how.

  6. I’ve met a few nfl guys over the last couple years and the first thing I said after the last guy I met was that he was obviously on some sort of prescription pain medication. Poor guys get it from team doctors and think it’s ok. Prescription pain meds if not kept in check are a recipe for lifetime drug dependance.

  7. I’ve met a few nfl guys over the last couple years and the first thing I said after the last guy I met was that he was obviously on some sort of prescription pain medication. Poor guys get it from team doctors and think it’s ok. Prescription pain meds if not kept in check are a recipe for lifetime drug dependance.

  8. Check Adrian Peterson’s locker first. Everyone knows he’s dirty since he began his steep decline.

  9. allow medical marijuana and the need for all of these pain medications would drop drastically.

  10. Wow! you’d think the government would have more pressing things to investigate, like the sale of drugs to school children. These are grown men who know what there doing. Go after the dirtbag doctors who push Oxy”s for recreational use first.

    All thats going on here is a potential for a big splash in the headline news. This story broke out in the 1979 movie North Dallas 40. Players in Every sport abuse pain killing drugs, that’s just a fact!

  11. So basically a former player hooked himself on hydrocodone and the league owes him because he is broke and the league has deep pockets?

  12. Does the DEA have nothing better to do? NFL players are being paid millions to sacrifice their bodies and brains, why can’t we just accept that? Almost all of us we trade old age so that we could provide our children and grandchildren with financial security.

  13. Haha. Any doctor gives out pills like they’re candy. There’s a drug store every block and usually a decent line at them.

  14. This should scare Roger and Owners more than a concussion lawsuit….this could turn into quite a problem if the wrong people start singing….

  15. I can see it now. Dea finds something in a locker room. Nfl acts shocked and appalled as if no other team does it and comes down on the unfortunate scapegoat with full force. Get ready for bounty gate 2.0. Better hope your team hides this well.

  16. Will this materialize into anything?

    I feel like the NFL will somehow make this disappear…..
    With relative ease…..

    ….regardless of whether or not they are actually guilty….

  17. Do you actually think the DEA can’t be bought? Come on you know better than that. A billion dollar industry that doesn’t pay taxes and does whatever they want to whomever they want, doesn’t have to worry about an agency snooping around. It’s a shame but they’re above the law and answer to no one.

  18. I knew it was only a matter of time before someone would write “Durr, does the government have BETTER THINGS to do?!”

    Uh, you mean like prescription drug abuse in a multi-billion dollar, tax-exempt organization? Yeah, can’t see why the DRUG ENFORCEMENT AGENCY would have any problem with that..

  19. It has always amazed me each team doesn’t employ a licensed team pharmacist. Some of these comments are so misinformed especially the Toradol one, which has unforgiving side effects with long term use.

  20. Tired of our government sticking their noses into pro football. They’ve got a lot bigger problems to solve than anything that might be happening in the NFL.

  21. What’s worse, Roger Goodell??

    Player A using marijuana, recreationally or medically

    Player B is presecribed opium-based pain pills by the handful, and the DEA investigates the NFL.


    But even the DEA isn’t “judge, jury and executioner” like Roger the Dodger is for players who smoke a plant that is legal in half the states in the US (and soon to be legal everywhere).

    Time to wake up, Roger.

  22. Just for show. Nothing that can’t be handled with a few stadium tours, replica jerseys and a few strategically placed complimentary tickets.

    When all is said and done, the DEA may end up paying the NFL for its time.

  23. I assume their investigation starts with the guy pulled over and arrested with a bag full of pills not prescribed to him and tens of thousands of dollars in cash in his possession?

  24. where was the DEA in 2009 when Joe Vitt was caught on camera stealing vicodin 3 times from the med cabinet in NO? he tried a 4th time but the trainers had changed the locks.

    the NFL gave Vitt a slap on the wrist, and then allowed him to be the fill in coach during Peyton’s suspension – meaning they didn’t take the incident very seriously in my eyes.

    I love the NFL, but I have grown to hate the “above the law” style of Roger and some owners…hope they get knocked down a few pegs by the Feds…

  25. ok…. but who’s going to investigate the DEA ? I mean an arm of the govt created by dick nixon that has never been anything more than a way for the govt to cash in on the drug trade ,the NFL’s corruption is small potato’s compared to the DEA… smh criminals policing criminals this will go well im sure!

  26. I wonder if the DEA has some actual credible sources or if they are just going off of the old adage, where there’s smoke – there’s fire…?

    Either way BAD PUBLICITY for the NFL.

    I bet the Office of the NFL just sent a memo to all teams telling them to clean up the cabinets. Then shortly after, called the IRS to find the steps needed to “loose emails.”

  27. the NFL is becoming to big and powerful for its own good…something will happen at some point that’s going to knock the owners and their wind bag commish off their perch…this investigation might be it…time will tell…

  28. In my opinion, the government has been retaliating against the NFL since the NFL refused to promote Obamacare 6 months or so ago. Since then, they have had Harry Reid bring up the Redskins name controversy and now there’s a federal investigation from the DEA. Personally I’m not sure why a team doctor who is a medical doctor cannot prescribe a painkiller. That’s what doctors do.

  29. The DEA, like every other bloated and corrupt government agency exists not to do any actual good for society, but to justify their budget and keep the gravy train rolling.

    As Americans attitudes towards recreational drugs changes, DEA officials see the writing on the wall. Less strict federal regulations on drugs means budget cuts and personnel cutbacks.

    So like any good federal agency, they look for new missions to justify their paychecks. The DEA could not possibly care less about the well being of NFL players.

    They just see another opportunity to keep the taxpayer money flowing.

  30. The actual game of the NFL is one of the best if not the best. The business side of the NFL and refs are disgusting. It’s a typical corporation where the employees interaction with its clients are what makes the business grow, yet it’s management and people in power that corrupt and mismanage everything. They think because of their title, power and paychecks that they can bully and boss everyone around. Then eventually they Piss someone off that stands up to them and they crumble

    Can’t wait til the business side and Goodell gets what’s coming to them.

    Irsay, Haslem, Wilf, and Goodell need to get pinched first

  31. Much ado about nothing! The fact is that NSAIDS (Advil, Motrin, Ibuprofen, etc) are more damaging to the body than Vicoden, Percoset, etc., with longterm or heavy use and are psychologically addicting as well. Since medical marijuana is not an option perhaps there needs to be a little more indepth research about acceptable options for the treatment of pain before the witch hunt starts. Most physicians prescribe Vicoden, Percoset, etc. for chronic pain disorders so that patients DON’T load up on the over the counter NSAIDS and blow out their kidneys!

  32. “Game day decision” really means they’ll wait and see if the player can put any weight on his foot after swallowing a half bottle of narcotics one hour prior to kickoff.

  33. It took 8 comments before Goodell was blamed. Disappointed you Goodell haters took so long. By the way, for those of you who do not like Roger, who is your suggestion as the ideal commissioner? Florio probably will not let comment be seen.

  34. Ok, we are entering into the realm of the ridiculous. I don’t think that there is a drove on the planet that doesn’t have some side effect, and now players are suing because of that?

    “Too slick to quit” Rodgers will simply create some bogus backhanded policy that will validate the use of those legal drugs to protect teams while throwing the players under the bus for overuse. The NFL “Machine” won’t be stopped by this.

  35. Let the players take what they want, as long as they’re not PED. Opioates and marijuana, while able to help with pain, hinder performance, so it’s not cheating in my book.

    On the other hand, taking PEDs IS cheating. HEAR THAT SEATTLE? ….CHEATING.

  36. About time someone started an investigation into league abuses surrounding the deadliest drugs in the USA.

    Big Pharma must be getting nervous. First there’s a push to reschedule opium-based pain relievers so that they’ll be more difficult to acquire, and now this investigation, which has the potential to be enormously high-profile.

    And claimersays: You can’t spell Washington R__skins without “0-3 versus Seattle in the playoffs over the past decade”. Oh, wait, you actually can. My mistake.

  37. radar8 says:
    Jul 13, 2014 1:50 PM

    Let the players take what they want, as long as they’re not PED. Opioates and marijuana, while able to help with pain, hinder performance, so it’s not cheating in my book.

    On the other hand, taking PEDs IS cheating. HEAR THAT SEATTLE? ….CHEATING.

    Sure, let the league turn into a bunch of pillbilly addicts. Who cares as long as you’re entertained?

    And how many PED tests did Seattle fail last year? I’ll save you the trouble of looking it up: The answer is zero.

  38. Let’s investigate the NFL where men are broken like kid’s toys…

    But we’ll leave the shady doctors out there who over prescribe, alone…because he and the big pharma’s make lots of money.

    The crap is all backwards, what a joke.

    Our government is crooked.

  39. Maybe they wouldn’t have to give players so many dangerous painkillers if a safe painkiller like medical marijuana was available for use.

  40. Silly DEA should have suspected extreme substance abuse in the NFL when Gunther Cunningham was glorified for his ammonia cap abuse throughout an entire season. Because we all know that if whiffing ammonia results in improvement over your normal state of mind, then your normal state of mind is in need of some serious rehab.

  41. blaming the NFL is ridiculous. you can at 18 claim you have back pain and they will eventually just give you a strong pain med that will have you hooked on something you didn’t even know was that big of a deal

    its not the NFL at fault here, its these doctors and pharmaceutical companies who peddle their legal crack and legal heroin

  42. This is just the start. They’re going to look at all the drug tests, start asking players who’s selling or giving them PEDs and weed too. The NFL hosed themselves with their testing for everything instead of focusing on the athlete’s treatment. Not only are the doctors and trainers going to be scrutinized for possible criminal action, the NFL has records of guys using controlled substances. Why this didn’t happen before is boggling.

  43. This type of horrible abuse would never happen in the historic Viking locker room. The legacy of championships will continue unabated. The Vikings are above reproach. They invented football as you know it.
    Derp! SKOLOLOL
    Own a

  44. There’s a certain owner who’s name hasn’t come up. I’m almost reluctant to point it out, as the issue becomes far more complicated this way.

  45. “Note to self, Line up potential interviews in the CFL… it’s about that time again!” – Pete Carroll

  46. If these allegations are true the NFL will have to answer for this.

    I find it hard to believe that when doctors and trainers provide pain medication to athletes with broken bones just so that they can finish out the season as alleged, they would tell the player of the long-term effects. But let’s say they did. It is still deplorable because they would in effect be taking advantage of a culture they themselves have created, one that nurtures the unspoken notion that you’re a sissy if you don’t play hurt; you’re letting the rest of your teammates, your coaches and the organization down. Then to add insult to injury and stress on the players…there’s the non-guaranteed contracts (financial pressures built into the culture often encourages players to always play hurt) that are almost always invariably one-sided, unless you’re a high-profile player like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady.

    It’s the duty of team doctors to monitor long term usage, prescribe meds judiciously and be educated on what dependence and prescription detox protocols entail.–Richard Taite, Founder Cliffside Malibu / co-author “Ending Addiction for Good.”

  47. I know players who have shared stories of professional teams pressuring them into taking prescription drugs to stay on the field. I know we all like to say they make tons of money and they know it’s dangerous, but when you take a 20 year old kid, who is injured and worried about his career being over due to injury and then threaten him by telling him he better get his butt on the field, because “were paying you to play not to sit in the training room”, you have got to admit that there is pressure there. Especially when some of these guys don’t have anything but football to turn to. It’s like your boss telling you to take the painkillers or you will never work again, and he means it. Many of us would think of our families, think of our futures, and I imagine many people would give in too. I admit that I get irritated with the concussion discussion, because there are people out there like our soldiers who walk into far worse situations than football and make far less money, and in my opinion these guys get paid to get banged around a little bit, but the drug and painkiller discussion is something that is totally different to me. These teams don’t give a flying you know what about their players, they just want them on the field, and if you can’t play it’s next up, thanks for coming out.

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