In the New Drug policy released by the AFL, players will not be tested out of competition for ellicit drugs. In season there will be a extended effort, with 75 per cent of a club's list being tested in 2005 and also the introduction of a new multilayed reprimand process.
A good read.....
New drug policy unveiled
By Mark Robinson
January 13, 2005
REVELATIONS that a "small number of players" returned positive tests to cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana in 2004 has prompted the launch of a radical drug policy by the AFL.
From the start of the Wizard Cup, players will be randomly tested at training and on match days for illicit drugs - and repeat offenders could face up to 12 weeks suspension.
Players will not be tested out of competition, except for rare compulsory fitness tests.
Performance-enhancing drugs such as steroids will continue to be tested all-year round.
Following testing in 2004, which revealed a "small number of players" had been found with illicit drugs in their system, the AFL yesterday announced up to 75 per cent of a club's list will be tested in 2005, with all players tested over a three-year period. The AFL, AFLPA, clubs and Australian Sports Drug Agency have agreed a four-step approach for players testing positive to illicit drugs.
A FIRST offence will be kept confidential, but the player will be required to undergo education and rehabilitation.
IF the player offends a second time, the club's medical officer will be told but sworn to a confidentiality agreement.
A THIRD offence would see the player face the AFL tribunal, where he could face up to 12 weeks suspension.
A FOURTH offence would be at the discretion of the tribunal, but the player would be suspended for no less than six weeks.
AFL football operations manager Adrian Anderson would not say how many players tested positive last year.
"It was a very small portion (and) I don't think it's important (to reveal how many)," Anderson said.
"What is important is we had a small number of positive tests and we think that's enough for us, combined with what we've learned from player interviews and talking to drug experts, that there's a significant enough issue that we need to take action."
Carlton pair Laurence Angwin and Karl Norman returned positive tests to ecstasy last year, prompting the Blues to sack Angwin and enter Norman in a drug education program.
Despite Carlton's decision to go public with their decision, the new policy would try to protect the player on a first offence.
AFLPA executive Glenn Archer said confidentiality would help avoid a media frenzy.
"It has to be, especially the first test," he said.
"I know a couple of guys who had their drinks spiked, and then the clubs find out. It always gets out of clubs, as you guys (in the media) know, and next minute you know, the player is 'on drugs'. It's got to be confidential."
The drugs review, led by AFL medical officers Dr Harry Unglik and Dr Peter Harcourt, identified education, rehabilitation, the welfare of players and the image of the game as key components of the policy.
"The AFL and the AFLPA have determined to take a lead role in developing a socially responsible policy based around the health and welfare of our players," Anderson said.
"It is a first in Australia and, as joint initiative with our players, it's perhaps the first in the world. It's an emerging issue and it's extremely important for us to act."
AFLPA chief executive Brendon Gale said the policy was a "sensible balance between protecting the health and safety of players while respecting privacy".