According to sources within the agency who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the Drug Enforcement Agency has begun investigating several National Football League teams regarding the possible abuse of prescription drugs by its players. Specifically, DEA agents are interested in finding out what individuals or organizations are providing the drugs.
The Agency began its investigation after a class-action lawsuit was filed on behalf of several former NFL players who allege that the league illegally provided prescription pain medications without informing the players about the long-term risks associated with them. The investigation is relatively low-profile and has to this point been kept away from most mainstream media outlets.
The Agency’s New York division is leading the investigation and agents there have begun approaching former players in order to get an idea about how doctors and trainers in the NFL gain access to certain powerful drugs like Vicodin, Percodan, and Toradol. The latter is one of the most commonly used prescription drugs in the NFL and is a non-addictive treatment for pain.
The class-action suit was filed in federal court in San Francisco in late May and accuses trainers and team doctors in the NFL of distributing certain prescription drugs without informing the players about the long-term dangers associated with them.
The complaint lists several examples of players who were given the drugs in order to temporarily numb their pain enough to be able to continue playing before the injury sustained had actually healed. It claims that these players have suffered long-term injuries because of the oversight and that the NFL is ultimately responsible.
DEA officials will not confirm the investigation at this point but several sources within the NFL Players Association as well as within the DEA itself have offered confirmation. Players’ attorneys say that the ultimate goal of the lawsuit is to actively protect the welfare of the individuals who play in the National Football League.