The DEA investigation stems from allegations in a lawsuit filed by 1,300 former NFL players that the league illegally provided powerful painkillers and other prescription drugs to keep them on the field. The class-action lawsuit was filed in California in May. [CNN]
AS THE Ray Rice sexual assault and battery brouhaha fades into the background, the NFL comes under new scrutiny this past Sunday as the DEA visits NFL teams on game day. The class-action suit by retired NFL players includes heavyweights like former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, who allege that a return-to-play NFL culture turned them into drug addicts.
McMahon is quoted in the suit, saying he received “hundreds, if not thousands” of injections and pills, including Percocet, Toradol, Novocaine, amphetamines, sleeping pills and muscle relaxers. At one point NFL doctors and trainers had him addicted to Percocet, taking 100 pills per month.
ESPN has the must read:
Under the federal Controlled Substances Act, doctors cannot give players prescription drugs like Vicodin, Percocet and OxyContin outside of the facilities where they are registered with the DEA to prescribe those controlled substances, and trainers are not permitted under the federal drug laws to ever provide prescription medications to players.
But according to a federal law enforcement source with knowledge of Sunday’s inspections, the DEA has reason to believe those laws are frequently violated, particularly by visiting NFL teams.
“NFL doctors are not obtaining a separate registration where they are administering controlled substances to NFL players. They are administering in different states and treating players at hotels and stadiums outside of their registered location with the DEA,” the source said.
The DEA also has reason to believe that visiting-team physicians may not be keeping “readily retrievable documents” that spell out which prescription drugs are administered and to whom, the federal law enforcement source said.
“Our intelligence suggests controlled substances are not properly logged to specific players,” the source added.
DEA agents planned Sunday to inspect the medical bags of visiting team doctors for prescription drugs while alongside Transportation Safety Administration screeners.
“If doctors don’t get players back on the field, you think they’re going to continue to be the team doctor?” Closius said when asked about the NFL culture that routinely demands players play with pain.
“Everybody is subservient to this return-to-play culture — doctors, general managers, coaches, everybody. And that return-to-play culture is responsible for this illegal distribution on drugs.”
The Washington Post also has a detailed description of the DEA drug raid.