MELBOURNE (AFP) –
A total of 26 positive tests for illicit drugs were recorded by Australian Football League players in 2012, a large increase from the previous year, the AFL said on Thursday.
AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou said 25 of them were for stimulants such as cocaine and methamphetamines. The positives were detected in 1,979 tests in 2012, compared with six from 1,489 tests in 2011.
Two of the latest doping results were from a player who tested positive on two occasions, he added.
The AFL illicit drugs policy is separate from its testing for performance-enhancing drugs and is done with the support of the AFL Players’ Association.
“The rise in detections in 2012 reflects both an increase in the number and effectiveness of target tests conducted as well as the well-documented jump in illicit drug availability and use in the broader community,” Demetriou said.
“The AFL playing group largely falls within the high-risk 18-30 male age group and individual players are not immune to peer group pressure and poor decision making.
“However, the use of illicit drugs in the AFL playing group remains substantially lower compared with the same age group of males in the wider community.”
The increase in positive results follows an Australian Crime Commission inquiry this year that identified common use of prohibited substances including peptides — a type of stimulant — hormones and illicit drugs, across multiple sports.