Warriors doctor calls 'cocktailing' widespread

Last updated 12:40 19/03/2014
John Mayhew
Getty Images
JOHN MAYHEW: "Basically they get a high and it doesn't contravene any of the existing drug testing protocols ... Widespread is the word I'd use."

Relevant offers


Kiwis hooker Issac Luke driven by the ghosts of UK tours past Parramatta Eels 'lose $11 million' in horror NRL season Kiwis coach David Kidwell prepared for showdown with 'supercoach' Wayne Bennett 'Don't count out the Kiwis', says Kangaroos star Johnathan Thurston before Four Nations rugby league rumble Could the 'biff' be back for Four Nations after blows traded in England's rugby league win in France? Three games of league sees Timaru teenager signed to Newcastle Knights Kiwis won't underestimate England in Four Nations Up to 10 NRL player managers face possible criminal prosecution after raids England begins Wayne Bennett era with big rugby league win over France Parramatta make their move for Kalyn Ponga

The NRL will this year begin testing for prescription drugs as the Warriors' club doctor said he believes many players are mixing sleeping pills with alcohol and energy drinks.

John Mayhew, the doctor for New Zealand's NRL side the Warriors, told ABC TV's 7.30 on Tuesday night that having spoken with players and other club medicos, "cocktailing" is widespread.

"Basically they get a high and it doesn't contravene any of the existing drug testing protocols," Dr Mayhew told 7.30.

"Widespread is the word I'd use."

Mayhew also believes the problem exists in other football codes.

His comments came just before the NRL announced on Wednesday they would start testing for prescription drugs, including the controversial sleeping pill Stilnox.

The NRL's chief operating officer, Jim Doyle, concedes there's anecdotal evidence that prescription drugs are being abused by players but no sanctions will be imposed in 2014 for those that test positive.

The NRL reached agreement with the Rugby League Players Association to test players for two classes of prescription drugs: benzodiazepines (which include brand names such as Valium, Serepax, Mogadon and Rohypnol) and zolpidems (which include Stilnox, Zolsan and Stilnoct).

"During the 2014 season, we will conduct testing for data-gathering purposes only," Doyle said in a statement.

"We want to find out if we do have a problem with prescription drugs in rugby league because, at present, there is only anecdotal evidence."

If a player tests positive this year, the NRL will set up a confidential meeting between the player, his club doctor and the NRL's chief medical officer to determine why the player is taking the drug and whether he needs counselling or rehabilitation.

However, if the testing regime shows there's a serious issue with the use of prescription drugs, Doyle said sanctions may be imposed in 2015.

Ad Feedback


Special offers
Opinion poll

Who is your pick for international league player of the year?

Shaun Johnson

Jesse Bromwich

Sam Burgess

James Graham

Greg Inglis

Johnathan Thurston

Vote Result

Related story: (See story)

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content