NSW coach Laurie Daley is urging players to contact the NRL if they suspect teammates have an addiction to prescription drugs.
Daley’s comments come in the wake of South Sydney’s Aaron Gray and Dylan Walker being rushed to hospital in a critical condition on Tuesday morning after they overdosed on painkillers.
Daley said it was important to determine why people were addicted to prescription drugs and provide them with assistance.
“If players are too scared to talk about it, we might see something serious occur,” Daley told News Corp Australia.
“Anyone, if they know someone who has a problem, should be contacting the NRL, or other people who can help, because that’s what mates do.
“If someone has an addiction and you really care for them, you will get them help.
“If my kid had a drug problem and everyone knew, I would be absolutely horrified if no one told me.”
Daley said the game must support players, regardless of the issues they were facing.
“We don’t want people to find themselves in a position where they end up dying,” Daley said.
“If people are addicted to whatever it may be – gambling, alcohol, drugs, prescription drugs – we have to get them help.
“If we don’t get help, it can lead to ultimate consequences – which can be death.
“If you’re a friend, you have to support and help them.
Daley did not suggest Walker and Gray were addicted to painkillers, but said he was relieved their condition was improving.
“We don’t know what has happened just yet but if there is an issue let’s get to the bottom of it,” Daley said.
He said it was important players with addictions were provided with education.
“An addiction can be like depression,” Daley said.
“And if you are dependent on alcohol and drugs, you require people to help get the right avenues to get better.
“Pick up the phone and ring someone. Get them the appropriate help.”