The National Hockey league is responding to what they say is an increased use of cocaine among its players. The NHL is in talks with the NHL PLayers Association to add cocaine to its list of banned substances.
One-third of the 2,400 player urine samples collected each year are screened more closely for drugs of abuse, such as cocaine. Those more comprehensive tests have shown cocaine use by NHL players is on the rise. Drugs, [NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly] Daly said, will be a focus this season as the NHL tries to educate its players on the dangers of celebrity life.
Currently the drug-testing program tests players at least twice a season for performance-enhancing drugs like steroids. Every team is also tested once during training camp and once during the regular season. Individual players are also randomly selected for testing throughout the season and playoffs.
“The number of [cocaine] positives are more than they were in previous years and they’re going up,” NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly told TSN in an interview. “I wouldn’t say it’s a crisis in any sense. What I’d say is drugs like cocaine are cyclical and you’ve hit a cycle where it’s an ‘in’ drug again.
In an effort to curb the use of cocaine amongst its players, the NHLPA union executive Donald Fehr will once again address the issue with its players this season.
Cocaine use is on the rise in North America.