DEA Crack Down: Two NFL Teams Inspected

Last updated on November 4th, 2019

At least two NFL teams received an unexpected surprise last week in the form of surprise inspections from federal drug enforcement agents. The visit was prompted by a string of claims from former players that teams have been mishandling and distributing prescription drugs.

So far, we know that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the San Francisco 49ers were both investigated by DEA officials. The inspectors, in cooperation with the Transportation Security Administration, questioned team doctors and thoroughly searched the bags of both officials and players.

Several other teams are rumored to have received similar unannounced visits from the DEA, but officials have yet to confirm or deny those allegations.

Bring on the Law Suits

More than 1,200 former players filed a lawsuit last May against the NFL, alleging that league teams, physicians and trainers acted recklessly when it came to the health of players.

The lawsuit makes some shocking claims, including the distribution of medication to players who had consumed alcohol. The players also allege that team doctors freely dispensed unlabeled and unprescribed medications, while trainers took took on a physician’s role and dispensed drugs. Federal law prohibits anyone but a physician or nurse practitioner from distributing prescription drugs.

A Long Time Coming

DEA agents have been interviewing NFL team physicians since the lawsuit was originally filed. Although it includes players who competed anywhere from 1968 through 2012, a five-year statute of limitations means that criminal investigations could only apply to those who violated federal drug laws dating back to 2009.

…a five-year statute of limitations means that criminal investigations could only apply to those who violated federal drug laws dating back to 2009.Last September, the NFL and the NFL Players’ Union finally came to an agreement after years of stalemates, rolling out a revised drug policy for the current season. Athletes will now be tested for human growth hormone, while those convicted of driving under the influence will receive two-game suspensions for the first offense. The threshold for a positive marijuana test also increased from 15 ng/ml to 35 ng/ml, after some players complained the threshold was so low that a “contact high” could result in a positive result.

The Concussion Cover-Up

The NFL is also dealing with a separate lawsuit filed on behalf of more than 4,500 players, each claiming the league downplayed and even covered up the long-term effects of repeated concussions.

A New York-based medical marijuana company, KannaLife Sciences, recently obtained a license from the National Institutes of Health Office of Technology to commercialize a medical marijuana patent that would bring a neuroprotective drug to the market. The company even worked with former NFL defensive lineman to help raise awareness about the medical benefits of cannabinoids.

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