AFL backs illicit drugs policy - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL backs illicit drugs policy

By Roger Vaughan 08/02/2010 02:37:30 PM Comments (0)

The AFL have strongly defended their illicit drugs policy in the wake of Mathew Stokes' criminal charges.

Geelong have stood down the premiership forward and are expected to make an announcement soon on any further action they might take after he was charged last week with cocaine possession and trafficking.

Under the protocol of the World Anti-Doping Agency, to which the AFL is a signatory, if Stokes is found guilty of trafficking it could mean a lifetime playing ban.

AFL operations manager Adrian Anderson said there has been a big drop in positive tests for illicit drugs.

"Obviously we want to see zero transgressions, but the reality is that what you're trying to do is make progress," he said.

"What the education and the illicit drugs policy has done over the last four years has seen the number of positive tests drop below one per cent in the AFL competition for the first time.

"It's less than a quarter of what it was before the illicit drugs policy and that education program started.

"We know there are players who still use drugs and that will remain a focus, to try to eliminate that, but there has been a major reduction in that.

"We know that for a fact from the testing and education that we do."

Anderson said the education program for players is thorough and left them in no doubt about the risks involved.

"We'll always try to do it better, but I'm not sure if there's anyone in anywhere I'm aware of does as much education around the issue of drugs as we do," he said.

"We've really had a concerted effort for a number of years involving medical officers, police, Purana taskforce members, meetings with player leadership groups.

"I don't think there's any excuse for a player these days not to understand what the rules are, it's hard to imagine a more robust education program than what has been provided.

"But yes, we will always look to ways we can do that better - the fact of one or two or however many examples of transgressions, I don't think should be used to say an education program is not worthwhile."

Anderson also backed Geelong for how they were dealing with Stokes and his charges.

"They've been proactive in addressing the issue and I'm sure they'll address it in the appropriate manner," he said.

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