ESPN conducted a survey among active NFL players and asked if painkiller use would decrease if the NFL allowed players to use marijuana.
The survey showed that 61% of NFL players would use less pain-killing injections, like Toradol, if marijuana were a legal option for them, according to ESPN. Toradol is the most frequently used anti-inflammatory in the NFL. 64% of players said they have been given some type of painkiller during their career.
Marijuana remains prohibited under the NFL’s substance abuse policy. If an NFL player tests higher than 35ng/mL for marijuana, they receive an infraction. The consequences of violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy vary depending on the frequency of the violation. Some consequences include suspensions from games and heavy fines.
One player said, in regards to marijuana: “It’s legal where I live, but not where I work.”
For the survey, ESPN spoke with 226 NFL players regarding pain treatment protocol in the NFL. Currently, 1,696 players are on active rosters in the NFL and 256 on practice squad rosters.
Other survey statistics:
- 41% say they believe marijuana would control pain more effectively
- 60% are worried about long-term side effects of painkillers
- 42% believe they’ve had teammates become addicted to painkillers
- 71% think that marijuana should be legal
NFL players say the league’s drug tests are easy to beat. Clean records often mean a player will only be tested once in a season. Most drug testing takes place between April 20 and August 9.
As more states legalize recreational and medical marijuana, the NFL receives more pressure to change its substance abuse policy.