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Report: DEA investigating NFL prescription drug usage

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

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In May a group of retired football players filed a lawsuit against the NFL alleging the league illegally administered prescription drugs to them. The lawsuit apparently caught the interest of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The DEA has, according to a report from the New York Daily News, "quietly launched an investigation into the abuse of prescription medication in NFL locker rooms."

Over the past month, the number of players named in the lawsuit grew from 500 to 750, with Hall of Famer Richard Dent and former Pro Bowler and current ESPN analyst Marcellus Wiley joining the list.

Dent claims players were treated like "livestock" and Wiley said players could obtain whatever prescription drugs they wanted or needed to "get through the day."

"You can't walk into a doctor's office and say, "Give me this, give me that, just to get through the day.' Somebody would shut the place down," Wiley said in June. "But that's what was going on in the NFL. It's easy to get mesmerized. I won't deny that; there's this 'play through-the-pain, fall-on-the-sword' culture, and somebody in line ready to step up and take your place."

According to the Daily News report, the DEA wants to know who was providing these drugs to the doctors for distribution to the players.

“They want to find out who provided and distributed the drugs to football players,” a source told the Daily News.

The attorney for the players, Steve Silverman, said the plaintiffs were "pleased" to learn of the DEA investigation.

"The allegations in our lawsuit, that the NFL has violated state and federal drug laws, have been confirmed by over 1,300 former NFL players,” Steve Silverman told the Daily News. “We are pleased to learn that the DEA and United States Department of Justice are also taking our clients' allegations seriously and are actively protecting the welfare of NFL players."

The NFL did not comment to the NYDN on the report of the DEA investigation.

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