DEA Launches Investigation Into Abuse Of Prescription Drugs In NFL Locker Rooms
Still "reeling from allegations that it covered up the long-term dangers of concussions," the NFL is now "facing a possible blitz from federal drug agents looking into the abuse of painkillers and other drugs" in the league, according to Michael O'Keeffe of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. Sources said that the DEA has "quietly launched an investigation into the abuse of prescription medication in NFL locker rooms." Agents from the DEA’s N.Y. 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." The DEA’s investigation began "shortly after attorneys representing about 1,300 NFL retirees filed a class-action lawsuit" in S.F. federal court on May 20 that "accuses the league of illegally providing prescription drugs to keep players on the field without informing them of the long-term risks." Allegations of "rampant locker-room prescription drug abuse are part of a broader battle over players’ long-term health." A federal judge in Philadelphia gave "preliminary approval last week to a settlement that would remove a cap on compensation for players who suffered concussions and other traumatic brain injuries" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/13). ESPN's John Clayton said of the DEA's investigation, "It's a very curious situation. If the DEA is picking it up, I'm sure that the NFL is going to be concerned, but I think right now they're probably scratching their heads trying to figure out what's going to happen. Are you talking about the current time or are you talking about the past? Because this case is more based on the past than the current time" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 7/13).