A recent ESPN report revealed 61 percent in a survey of 266 NFL players said they believed fewer painkillers such as Toradol would be used if marijuana were a legal option for players.
“It’s legal where I live,” said one player. “But not where I work.”
Marijuana is currently legal in 25 states and Washington D.C. for medicinal purposes. However, it is one of eight drugs banned under the NFL’s substance-abuse program that deals out dozens of fines and suspension each year if a player’s result tests above 35 ng/mL.
The use of painkillers like Toradol are not punishable but nearly 60 percent of surveyed players said they felt the long-term effects of painkillers was greater than marijuana’s effects. About 42 percent of the players said they believe they have had a teammate become addicted to chemical painkillers.
There has also been a rash of painkiller-related suicides, with New York Giants safety Tyler Sash’s death last season causing a national stir among other recent passings. A handful of former NFL players have also filed suit against the league for misuse of painkillers, trying to mask injuries which led to addiction.
ESPN’s survey did not reveal how many players were worried about becoming addicted to marijuana, but 71 percent of surveyees said they believe marijuana should be legal in one form or another considering the fewer known side effects compared to Toradol. Four states — Colorado, Washington, Alaska, and Oregon — allow recreational usage. Another five states are voting on the issue during the Nov. 8 election day and could help turn the page in the NFL’s rulebook.