NFL Bans Marijuana Yet Strong, Dangerous Painkillers Okay
We’ve reported on various NFL players who have been fined and suspended for their marijuana use. The latest player to be punished is Detroit Lions’ running back Mikel Leshoure:
The Detroit Lions running back, who missed his entire 2011 rookie season with a torn Achilles tendon, was arrested twice in less than a month on charges of marijuana possession in Michigan this offseason. In the latest incident, Leshoure failed to show for arraignment on Monday. Police reports indicate he tried to eat the marijuana he had on him during a traffic stop.
But Leshoure has been in trouble for marijuana use before. As the NFP’s Dan Pompei reported a year ago, Leshoure was suspended for a game at Illinois in 2009 after he tested positive for marijuana. Then Illini coach Ron Zook suspended Leshoure for the 2009 season opener against Illinois State. Hat tip to Philip Zaroo of MLive.com for not letting this sneak by.
Of course, Leshoure is just one of three 2011 draft picks for the Lions to be caught with marijuana this offseason. First-round draft pick Nick Fairley was arrested on Tuesday in Mobile, Ala. But Leshoure now has three strikes on him with the drug and will clearly be a target for the NFL after the court system finishes with Leshoure. Because this is his second arrest, he’s currently facing a felony charge.
Given the punishment these men’s bodies must endure, maybe marijuana use ought to be mandatory. It would certainly be a safer option than getting these athletes hooked on prescription opiates:
A study commissioned by ESPN and assisted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse shows retired NFL players misuse painkillers at a rate of 4-to-1 compared to the general public.
Miami Dolphins tight end Dan Johnson’s teammates called him “King of Pain” because of the myriad injuries he suffered throughout his career from 1983 through 1987. He became addicted to painkillers after two back surgeries.
“I was taking about 1,000 Vicodins a month,” Johnson told ESPN. “People go, ‘That’s impossible. That’s crazy.’ No, it’s exactly what I was taking. I mean, believe me, I’d love to be off medications. That’s my worry every day, to make sure I have medication.”
More than half of the surveyed former players reported using prescription painkillers during their playing days. Of that same group, 71 percent admitted misusing the drugs during their time in the NFL.