Jeff Griffith-US PRESSWIRE
If reports are correct, the Buccaneers' secondary will face it's second suspension of a player using Adderall in the past few weeks. What is the attraction of this drug?
If the reports from Fox Sports' Jay Glazer are accurate, the Bucs are about have their second suspension of a player for the performance enhancing substance known as Adderall.
If Eric Wright is indeed suspended, it will be the seventh player suspended for using the drug since 2010.
So what is Adderall and why are NFL players taking it?
Well, it's certainly not just a "Party Drug" as Cleveland Browns DB Joe Haden believed it to be. Adderall has been on the banned substance list for the NFL since 2006, as the combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine is used as part of a treatment program to control symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD; more difficulty focusing, controlling actions, and remaining still or quiet than other people who are the same age) in adults and children. Dextroamphetamine and amphetamine tablets are also used to treat narcolepsy (a sleep disorder that causes excessive daytime sleepiness and sudden attacks of sleep). The combination of dextroamphetamine and amphetamine is in a class of medications called central nervous system stimulants. It works by changing the amounts of certain natural substances in the brain (courtesy of the National Library of Medicine).
On September 13th, the NFLPA issued a warning to all agents of NFL Players to warn their clients about using Adderall without a league exemption. Its not enough to have a prescription - an exemption form must be filed to the league and it must be approved by the league after its reviewed for its authenticity. Giants safety Tyler Sash had a prescription but failed to fill out the proper paperwork. His appeal was denied.
Two players, Andre Brown of the NY Giants and punter Brett Hartmann of the Texans were able to get their suspensions overturned because they had a valid prescription, a legitimate medical need and had filed the paperwork with the league - it just hadn't been fully approved.
So how are players getting access to these medications without a proper subscription? Well, of course, pill sharing is common place. According to CBS Sports Mike Freeman, as much as 30% of the league had been using the drug up until the end of the 2010 season. Freeman says players think its now around 15% or 250 players in the league using.
"Everyone wants to do business with an NFL player so there's always someone with a doctor who is a friend of the family who just can't wait to call and help," One anonymous NFL agent told the website BuzzFeed.
So what is the benefit? As an amphetamine or "upper", the drug hypes up your heart rate and attention span. For those with ADHD, it helps them focus and become more productive - for those without the infliction, it can provide a "rush" and give you a feeling of being "hyped".
"It's a favorite of athletes because it works pretty well," said Don Catlin of Anti Doping Research group told the Tampa Bay Times, "It's a strong stimulant, and that means it enhances performance usually of the type of performance that has to do with speed, running, or swimming. ... It's like drinking 10 cups of coffee all in one sitting over an hour or two, you get really hyped up."
There are some who believe that Adderall is a legal alternative to cocaine or meth, which could point to some other serious issues that a player and agent may not want you to know about.
We do know Wright had an excused absence during OTAs for an undisclosed illness. While we don't want to speculate on that situation and it could have nothing to do with Wright's current predicament, Wright's story in Tampa Bay has been an odd one.
After signing a big deal with the Bucs (some believe Tampa Bay overpaid), he was arrested in July for DUI. Charges were dropped as the Los Angeles district attorney did not press charges.
In college, Wright was arrested for possession of 136 ecstasy pills and suspension of rape. Once again, charges were dropped by the LA district attorney and he transferred from USC to UNLV to finish his college career.
The NFL never comments on suspensions for PEDs due to health privacy liability.