Following reports of widespread abuse of painkillers, contained in a class-action lawsuit against the American National Football League, agents of the federal Drug Inforcement Administration questioned medical-staff members of the San Francisco 49ers and several other teams on Sunday as part of a continuing investigation into the distribution of painkillers in the NFL. The suit, which is being heard in federal court in California, claims that team doctors routinely dispensed Percocet, Toradol, Novocain and other drugs to energize players before games and relieve pain afterward.
According to The New York Times, the agency has increased its policing of prescription drugs in recent years as addiction and abuse of painkillers and other medications have skyrocketed. A spokesman for the agency characterized the inquiries as administrative in nature and said agents were looking to ensure that team doctors and other medical-staff employees were properly licensed to possess and distribute prescription medicine outside their home states.
The plainclothes agents arrived without warning at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey., where the 49ers played the New York Giants. After the game, they spoke with one of the 49ers’ team doctors in a private room. Less than 10 minutes later, the doctor joined the team on a bus that took them to the airport. Agents also met medical-staff members travelling with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at an airport in Maryland as the team was heading home from a game against the Washington Redskins.
“Our teams cooperated with the D.E.A. today, and we have no information to indicate that irregularities were found,” a NFL spokesman is quoted as saying by the New York Times.
This article was republished with permission from the author and publisher of the Sport Intern, Karl-Heinz Huba.