NFL players back legal marijuana over chemical painkillers
The drug is legal in a number of states for medicinal purposes15:30 Wednesday 2 November 2016, 15:30 2 Nov 2016
Two-thirds of active NFL players back using legal marijuana in place of painkilling medication to treat the injuries they suffer on the field of play.
ESPN.com's NFL Nation and ESPN The Magazine decided to survey 226 players on the issue, touching on the state of play in the league when it comes to painkillers, and what players go through to make it on to the field on game day.
The results showed that the majority of players feel that "the use of chemical painkillers would be reduced if the league approved marijuana for the same use."
61% of the players in the survey said they believed that, were the NFL to remove marijuana from the banned list, fewer players would take pain-killing shots. Furthermore, 64% of the survey's respondents said they had taken an injection of Toradol, the most commonly used painkiller, or something similar in order to play.
While the drug is legal in 23 states in America, it is still one of eight that the NFL itself has listed as banned, according to their policy and program on substances of abuse.
One player told ESPN that the drug "is legal where I live, but not where I work."
Other findings in the survey showed that 41% of players thought that marijuana would control pain more effectively than the chemical painkillers they're currently using, while around 60% expressed concern about the long-term health effects of the drugs being used at the moment to treat pain in the NFL.
42% added that they believed a team-mate has become addicted to chemical painkillers as a result of their treatment.
Worryingly, a majority of players also said that NFL drug tests are not particularly difficult to beat, and that those who have clean records are only subject to one test per year within the league's drug program.
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