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GAA Clubs accused of turning a blind eye to drugs

GAA Clubs accused of turning a blind eye to drugs

A drug addiction counsellor has supplied a stark warning for GAA clubs about how they approach drug use by their members.

As part of the launch of a drugs programme for GAA clubs in Waterford, a respected counsellor has stated that it is an "indictment" on the entire organisation about the issue within the game.

The programme allows family resource groups and members of the gardaΓ­ to speak with club members who admit to the use of drugs and has already been successfully rolled out in Carlow and Kilkenny.

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As reported by the Irish Examiner: The launch heard from George Henderson, a counsellor who is recovering from an alcohol and cocaine addiction, who said he has seen clubs respond to drug use by key performers by handing the player the captaincy, believing the responsibility would help them turn things around off the field.

"But it doesn't, it just leads to the player eventually leaving himself down and leaving the club down," he said.

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"I had a coach ring me last year and he said to me, 'We know [this player is] taking something, but we can't lose him, we can't lose him - he's our main player,'" he added.

Henderson recalled being asked about making that troubled player the team captain as a solution.

"I said don't do it. He'll let you down - he can't help it. He'll let himself down, he'll let the club down and he'll let everyone down."

He added: "Clubs will make this fella their captain so he might sort himself out. To me, that's a myth. To me, that's enabling that player to do whatever he wants."

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Instead, Henderson said clubs need to be able to talk to the player, to "give him an option, offer him support, offer him help".

Drug use in the GAA has become "rampant" in recent years, he continued.

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