The Drug Enforcement Agency added to the NFL’s problems over the weekend. On a day that saw the Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots each take key wins to stand atop the league, the DEA launched surprise raids on several traveling teams, according to the Washington Post. The raids were triggered by the class-action lawsuit that was filed against the league by more than 1,300 former players.
Federal drug agents conducted surprise inspections of National Football League team medical staffs on Sunday as part of an ongoing investigation into prescription drug abuse in the league. The inspections, which entailed bag searches and questioning of team doctors by Drug Enforcement Administration agents, were based on the suspicion that NFL teams dispense drugs illegally to keep players on the field in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, according to a senior law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation.
The medical staffs were part of travel parties whose teams were playing at stadiums across the country. The law enforcement official said DEA agents, working in cooperation with the Transportation Security Administration, inspected multiple teams but would not specify which ones were inspected or where.
Inspected teams include the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, all of which played on the road Sunday. That’s key, because the DEA’s investigation centers on whether team doctors are registering the drugs that they may administer to football players in the states where they play when they’re traveling.
Federal law prohibits anyone but a physician or nurse practitioner from distributing prescription drugs, and they must meet myriad regulations for acquiring, storing, labeling and transporting them. It is also illegal for a physician to distribute prescription drugs outside of his geographic area of practice. And it is illegal for trainers to dispense or even handle controlled substances in any way.
At first blush, then, this looks like a hunt for technicalities as well as possible actual violations. Some players allege that team doctors have given them unlabeled medications during games, and filling out prescriptions in players’ names without their knowledge. They also allege that trainers have been known to pass out pills in team hotels and locker rooms and team planes after games.
Team doctors and trainers are presumably certified to practice in the states where the teams they serve are located (if they’re not, the DEA isn’t the only legal authority that would like to have words with them). Is the DEA saying that team docs have to get certified in every state where their team might possibly play a game, or they’re in violation of the law, even if everything else they do is otherwise legal?
Going after the football league is a curious choice, for an administration that has released thousands of known violent illegal aliens back into the wild — and misled the public about that.