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Painkiller Culture in Rugby - Kieran Low

Posted: Sun May 03, 2020 12:50 pm
by Margin_Walker
There's been the odd mention of Kieran Low's struggles before, but there's an interesting article in The Times Today (paywall). Touches on his issues with concussion and alcoholism, but also the role of painkillers. It's something that rarely gets too much attention, but surely puts people who may have self destructive personalities at increased risk. ... bda8f00972
Painkillers were a later but similarly damaging addition to the mix. Low’s testimony chimes with a superb Rugby World magazine investigation into the ubiquity of their availability and usage in the sport. “It’s a shocking culture that doesn’t get spoken about enough,” he says. “You come into it as a youngster, see what the older guys are doing, and it becomes the norm for you as well. Before a game, you get your painkillers, then during the week, if you need anything, there’s always a doctor, always someone who will have something to tide you over. I wasn’t properly aware at the time, but I became pretty heavily addicted to opioid painkillers and benzodiazepines: codeine and Valium.

“At my worst, it was a daily occurrence, part of my routine. Again it was escapism. If you take an opioid on an empty stomach you can get high, if you take Valium you can get high. I have a lot of resentment, because it’s a culture in rugby that doesn’t get addressed and still goes on. These are pretty heavy-duty drugs, but you think: ‘The doctor is giving it to me so it must be fine. I’ll carry on taking it.’”