A former NRL representative player reportedly took up to 50 valium tablets a day at the height of his prescription drug addiction.
The player said his two-year addiction was fuelled by club doctors who provided him with scripts for the anti-anxiety drug.
“I started out taking Valium once or twice a day, just to help the pain,” the player told The Daily Telegraph.
“But your body would get used to it, and in the end when I was in a bad way, I was taking up to 20 or 30 pills at once.
“I’d finish one prescription in a day.
“I’d then take Xanax to help me go to sleep.
“I’d wake up, take some Valium, go to training, spend three or four hours at training, then come home and do it all over again.”
He said he believed up to 50 per cent of players in the NRL had abused prescription drugs.
The player was prepared to speak on the record, but was later advised by his employer any public statement could harm his profile.
“When it came to playing, I always knew I could turn up and play, and even an average game would be enough to get me through to the next week,” he said.
“But looking back, I didn’t prepare as well as I should have.”
The player said he quit drugs after a club boss told him “you’ll kill yourself or someone else”.
Prescription drug abuse by NRL players came under the spotlight this week after South Sydney’s Dylan Walker and Aaron Gray suffered an overdose of painkillers.
Walker and Gray have since been moved out of intensive care and into a private ward as their conditions continue to improve, but they still have to pass a number of tests before they will be released from St Vincent’s hospital in Sydney.