World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibition Looms, PFA Highlights Risks and Sanctions Ahead of 2024 Deadline
In response to the impending prohibition of Tramadol, a prescription painkiller, by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on January 1, the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) has issued an official warning to all players, reaching out to its 5,000 current members. The PFA’s email serves to underscore the dangers posed by the drug and the forthcoming sanctions that will be enforced starting in 2024.
WADA had previously declared a 14-month window for users to adjust to the impending ban, prompting the PFA to take proactive measures in communicating the risks associated with Tramadol. Ben Wright, the PFA’s director of external affairs, drew attention to the drug’s addictive nature, likening it to heroin. This comparison emphasizes the severity of the issue and the potential consequences for players who continue to use Tramadol after the ban takes effect.
Former England, Liverpool, and Wigan goalkeeper Chris Kirkland shared a personal account of his struggles with Tramadol, revealing that he consumed 2,500 milligrams daily due to back spasms while at Sheffield Wednesday. Kirkland’s addiction led to hallucinations, sleepless nights, and ultimately, his decision to seek rehabilitation.
“I found out when I went into rehab that I was taking the equivalent of six shots of heroin a day,” Kirkland disclosed, describing Tramadol as an “evil, evil drug” that nearly cost him his life. He emphasized the initial allure of the drug for its mood-altering effects but cautioned about the mental toll it takes and the rapid development of dependency.
Highlighting the prevalence of such issues in football, Everton midfielder Dele Alli previously spoke about his sleeping pill addiction, leading him to enter rehab. Alli expressed concern that the problem is more widespread in the sport than commonly acknowledged, shedding light on the need for increased awareness and preventative measures.
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