Illicit drugs + disposable income = athletes in strife
Recreational drugs will always follow athletes who have too much disposable income and too much time on their hands. The consequences have been devastating, as AFL players like Ben Cousins and Mathew Stokes know all too well.
Last week the AFL revealed that 14 players tested positive to illicit drugs last year. The drugs detected included cocaine, ice and ecstasy – known party drugs.
The drug test results generated massive online debate and according to a Herald Sun online poll, 76 per cent of people believe footballers who test positive should be named and shamed.
The sad fact of life is that AFL drug results are just a tip of the iceberg. There are obviously more athletes – and AFL players – who are dabbling in recreational drugs but they are smart enough to avoid getting caught.
It’s easy for footballers to access party drugs. They have time to party, they have the spare cash and they often looking for a rush. If they can’t get a rush on the field, they will look for another rush off the field. Unfortunately, drugs are an easy answer.
There are strict club rules for players who mess with drugs. Not only are they cheating themselves, they are cheating their clubs and the people who mean the most to them.
Stokes, who made a commendable return to Geelong’s line-up on Saturday night, has desperately tried to turn his life around since being caught with a gram of cocaine earlier this year. Stokes said his actions were “silly, stupid and senseless”.
Curiosity killed the Cat. In The AFL’s case, curiosity killed the Cat or Dog or Eagle or whoever weakens the most.
It’s not even worth being tempted by drugs, for the sake of curiosity or being cool. Many young people will experiment with drugs. But some get hooked, for whatever psychological reason is behind their addiction.
Football clubs do their best to keep players busy and their minds ticking. They help out with clinics, work part-time or dabble in public speaking.
Peer pressure seems to be the overwhelming force in illegal drug use. It’s often outside the clubs’ control when things go haywire.
At the end of the day, the athlete is responsible for his/her choices. They cannot blame boredom or having too much money or being part of the crowd. Only the conscience can overpower choices in drug use. It comes down to character and willpower.
Naming and shaming the players can help curb recreational drug use among athletes. It could be the answer to reducing positive test results.
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