Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Cocaine is “well and truly alive” in the GAA according to former Limerick hurling All-Star Ciarán Carey.

Speaking to Newstalk, Mr Carey, a psychotherapy counsellor, said that other than gambling, cocaine use is the biggest addiction facing players.

“I’ve about 10 clubs out there at the moment actually waiting for me in the new year to do some type of workshop,” Mr Carey said.

“It needs to be confronted, probably it needs to be confronted at an officership level and reach out for certain people, roll out one or two workshops in each club, it just highlights it.”

Coach approach

According to Mr Carey, coaches need to be aware of cocaine use among players in order to stop it from spreading.

Discussing how to tackle to problem, former Antrim dual player CJ McGourty said coaches should be taught how to recognise signs of addiction among players.

“Try and get coaches to try and understand that sort of age group that may be at risk of taking [drugs],” Mr McGourty told Newstalk.

“Understand changes in mood, or changes in the way they are taking part in sport and behaviour they don’t usually recognise,” the former player added.

“There also needs to be a massive punishment if any player is caught firsthand taking drugs… it becomes part of then the club culture.

“That is where captains have a role to play and senior team members to try and help young lads go on the straight and narrow if you want to call it that.”

Mr McGourty also suggested that regular drug testing at club level may be a useful tool for the association to tackle the problem.

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