AFL sets up drug abuse panel: report

AFL sets up drug abuse panel: report

The AFL has reportedly established a special unit to manage any players fighting drug abuse.

The Herald Sun reports players are referred to the panel by club doctors or after being detected of drug use in testing.

The AFL panel is headed by the league’s chief medical officer Dr Peter Harcourt and assesses if a player’s illicit substance use is linked to mental health issues or recreational.

An AFL spokesman said the league wouldn’t comment on any aspect of medical treatment of players, citing confidentiality.

The Herald Sun said after being assessed by the panel, players in the initial stages of treatment were allowed to continue playing if considered in their best interests.

But while positive drug tests during a rehabilitation period don’t count as formal strikes, a player would then be withdrawn from competition.

The report said cocaine remained the drug of choice in the AFL ahead of ecstasy.

Under changes to the AFL’s drugs policy, players are banned for a month after recording a second positive test. A third strike results in a 12-game ban and $10,000 fine.

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