Illicit drug use rife among AFL youth: reports
Illicit drug use rife among AFL youth: reports

A senior AFL figure has told News Ltd that illegal drug use is rife among AFL draftees and that young players are schooled in drugs before they reach the game's top ranks.

An unnamed AFL club boss told the Herald Sun: "I know it to be. Have a look at schoolies. I think the kids are turning to these things earlier on, and not necessarily out of recreation, but because of their backgrounds.

"It's hard out there in the suburbs for a lot of kids and they do turn to drugs. I think they are more accepted at a younger age now.

"Schools are beside themselves -- from the best schools to the most working-class, so why would we think that just because they are in the First XVIII they are not doing it?"

An AFL drugs symposium is due to be held in January 2013 after Collingwood chief executive Gary Pert suggested players engaged in "volcanic behaviour" during their off-season breaks.

It is understood that AFL clubs will push for changes in the way illicit drug use is reported. Currently only club doctors are informed of a positive drug test.

Players are also able to self report drug use to AFL medical directors Dr Peter Harcourt and Dr Harry Unglik and avoid registering a strike against their name.

Geelong Falcons regional manager Michael Turner denied seeing any evidence of drug use in the under-18 TAC Cup competition; the major recruiting ground for AFL clubs.

"Categorically, absolutely not. I have run the Geelong Falcons for AFL Victoria and the AFL for 18 years and they are fantastic kids -- very disciplined kids," Turner said.

"In my time I have never seen any evidence of anything like that. So for anyone to say that ... it's absolute rubbish. I'm offended by it."

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