PILLGATE: Federal agents begin probe into NFL drug abuse
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Federal agents launched a surprise drug inspection of the NFL's medical staffs on November 16, part of a larger ongoing investigation into accusations that the league is allowing prescription drug abuse.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - During the inspection, Drug Enforcement Administration agents searched bags and questioned medical staff.
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A senior law enforcement official with the investigation said that the inspection occurred because of suspicions that the NFL was allowing or encouraging team doctors to give out drugs illegally in order to keep injured players on the field, a violation of the Controlled Substances Act.
Those under investigation included members of medical staff that were traveling with teams playing that day.
The anonymous official said that the DEA was working in conjunction with the Transportation Security Administration, and inspected multiple teams, though he could not specify which ones.
The San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were three teams that confirmed they met with federal agents.
"The San Francisco 49ers organization was asked to participate in a random inspection with representatives from the DEA Sunday night at MetLife Stadium," the 49ers' team spokesman Bob Lange said in a statement. "The 49ers medical staff complied and the team departed the stadium as scheduled."
One NFL official stated that several teams did meet with federal authorities following their Sunday games. "Our teams cooperated with the DEA today and we have no information to indicate that irregularities were found," aid the league's spokesman Brian McCarthy.
The federal official said that the DEA did have reason to investigate the teams from Sunday, though the inspection will not be limited to them. The current investigation intends to look at medical practices in all 32 teams, including the possibility that trainers were dispensing drugs, not physicians.
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