National Hockey League Acknowledges Serious Drug Problem

cocaine, drug crimes, Arlington Heights Criminal Defense AttorneyAs the Chicago Blackhawks get set to open the 2015-2016 season this week, concern over illicit drug use around the National Hockey League is growing. The NHL, like most professional leagues, has strict testing and disciplinary guidelines in place regarding the use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), but the rules are less defined in relationship to street and party drugs like cocaine and ecstasy.

Results of Random Testing

As part of the program to eliminate the use of PEDs, NHL players are subject to team-wide testing during training camp and once more during the season. Individuals may also be tested at random under the terms of the league’s existing labor agreement. Some 2,400 test are collected each year, of which, about 800 are analyzed more closely for other illegal drugs. Over the last several years, these tests show that cocaine use among NHL players is again on the rise. While the NHL is certainly no stranger to drug issues, including cocaine, the league has made assurances that the situation is a point of focus going forward.

Union executive for the NHL Players Association (NHLPA) Donald Fehr has reportedly brought the issue to the forefront of closed-door meetings with a number of teams, looking for the reasons behind the drug’s resurgence and warning of health dangers and potential consequences. NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly pointed to the availability of the league’s substance abuse and behavioral health program for players dealing with such problems. “When bad things happen, we try to address the bad things,” Daly said.

Arrests and Public Trends

There have been several players arrested in the last year and a half for charges related to cocaine, which only serves highlight the league’s concern. The NHL, however, may be only a relatively normal cross-section of North American society, as cocaine use among the general public in the United States and Canada appears to be on the rise again as well. While young players coming into the league may be tempted by a sudden increase in income and elevated lifestyle, those close to the situation indicate that veteran players are actually more likely to get involved with cocaine and other recreational drugs.

As the NHL considers its options on how to deal with its growing problem, it is important to recognize the seriousness of charges related to cocaine possession and distribution. If you have been arrested for any type of drug crime, contact an experienced Arlington Heights criminal defense attorney today. We will meet with you to review your case and help you find the best option in protecting your future. Call 847-253-3100 to schedule your free, confidential consultation today.



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