An exclusive report from The Sun has revealed the emergence of a disturbing trend amongst Premier League footballers.
The mixing of sleeping pills with alcohol is becoming an endemic problem in England's top flight.
Consumption of pills such as Zopiclone and Zolpidem, neither of which are registered on the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of banned substances, is growing at an alarming rate.
Colin Bland, who is chief executive of the charity Sporting Chance, has suggested that the pandemic has contributed to the growing trend among elite footballers.
“We have seen a notable increase in this behaviour during the pandemic.
“There is help there, from us, the Premier League and their clubs, but it’s been harder to get the message out because of lockdown. It’s created a perfect storm.”
Sporting Chance was set up by the former Arsenal star Tony Adams, and the charity have claimed that “many, many more players” are seeking help.
The report goes on to claim that three England players are battling addiction and their careers and lives are being jeopardised by the ongoing problem.
All three players are unnamed, but some information regarding their identity is provided.
Player one is one of the most talented players of his generation and his problem is widely known across dressing rooms. He has consumed the pills alongside vodka and champagne at parties and his habit is negatively impacting his performance in training.
Meanwhile, player two has years of experience playing for England. He was initially prescribed Zolpidem by his club and is now addicted to mixing the pill with alcohol. His partner begged him to seek help after she found him knocked out cold on the sofa.
The final player was tipped to be a regular for the England national team but there are concerns he'll never fulfil his potential amid a notable dip in form. Some individuals have drawn a correlation between his consumption of sleeping pills and the standard of his performances.
According to a recent survey carried out on members of the Professional Footballers' Association, approximately 9% of players are experiencing difficulty with damaging addictive habits.
It's a troubling state of affairs and a report that illuminates the damaging effects of many legal prescription drugs.
Given the alarming extent of the evidence presented in the report, the relevant governing bodies need to come together and put measures in place to prevent the problem from snowballing in the coming years.
We hope that the players affected get all the treatment and support they need to alleviate their dependency.News Now - Sport News