I
don’t think the general public, let alone the AFL have any idea of how
rife drug use is in our society today. And add Caroline Wilson to that
list. Carro is normally right on the money, but her article in
yesterday’s Age was so far off the mark it made me want to
double-drop some disco biscuits and head down to the seediest club in
town just to clear my head. Clearly she and most other people in this
debate have no idea what is actually going on in our suburban bars and
clubs. In fact the only bloke who would appear to have half an idea
(for a change) is Eddie.

I regularly head out to bars and clubs
around the inner city and I don’t mind having the occasional dabble in
some recreational drugs, namely cocaine and ecstasy. I’m certainly no
party animal but I’m not averse to a bender from time to time either,
as are most of my mates. So having used drugs a number of times, it’s
easy for one to spot others who are also on drugs and also to sometimes
cross paths within these bars and clubs with others that want to buy or
sell drugs. Therefore some of the things I am about to say might
surprise a few… while for those who socialise in similar circles to
me, it will probably come as no surprise.

1) Over the past three
years, I have spent countless nights at a club in South Yarra which, to
be blunt, is a haven for pill-popping. I’ve lost count of how many
times I saw one senior Carlton player at this venue in the early hours
of the morning, looking a little worse for wear… and not as a result
of alcohol. Now when you start to see this same player at this venue
time and time again, with pupils severely dilated, you have to start
asking questions. More often than not he was accompanied by a few of
his team-mates who were equally wired. Little surprise then, when
Lawrence Angwin makes his accusation about a couple of senior Carlton
players “getting anything you want.” Is it really that far fetched? I
don’t think so. But then again, I am an occasional drug user which
probably deems my opinion and observations severely clouded and
unreliable, just like Angwin.

2) I have a few mates who are
current and past AFL players. Now as an example – after the grand final
in 2002, I found myself sitting on a couch at a club in South Melbourne
with two current Crows players, a current Power player and a former
Crows player. What did we all have in common? We were all on ecstasy.
Now personally I don’t really see the problem with this, because
effectively it was the off-season for these guys. But it proves the
point that AFL players are just like anyone else in a bar and club and
moreover, they have the income to support the hobby!

3) This one
was the biggest eye-opener for me: at that same South Yarra club two
weekends ago, a mate and I got chatting to two current AFL players
around 3am. One of them is a former captain and knows my mate quite
well. The boys were out celebrating a big win the previous day and were
quite jovial. But you can imagine our surprise when the former captain
enquired as to whether we could get him “four or five pills?” Sounds
crazy? Well, I wouldn’t have believed it myself unless I’d been
standing there to hear it. I have to say, I was quite shocked. Here
were two of the club’s best players looking to buy drugs at 3am, seven
rounds into the season proper!

I have a list the length of my
arm of similar accounts that I’ve heard around the traps, but at the
end of the day I wasn’t there on those occasions and so I am not going
to speculate as to the legitimacy of those stories. But I will say this
– Caroline Wilson and the AFL can talk all they want about the
stringent drug testing which is taking place, but clearly something’s
amiss. Why would a respected AFL player with over 200 games under his
belt risk using drugs if there were such a strict drug-testing policy
in place? It certainly didn’t deter him that night I met him. And if
this extensive testing really is happening, then surely there have been
players caught out? So, Adrian Anderson, who are these players? Why
isn’t the AFL naming names? Perhaps a little petrified at the damage
which it could cause to our great game?

Dale Lewis was shot down
in flames when he estimated that 75% of AFL players have tried
recreational drugs. Sure, during the season proper the majority of
players probably behave themselves. But come the off-season, I’d say
that 75% is being conservative. And for a real eye-opener, tag along
with one of the teams during the annual exhibition match in old London
town. It would appear that even the most disciplined players just
cannot resist the London clubbing scene and all it has to offer.
They’re all over it like seagulls at the tip.