Six hundred former NFL players sued the league last week, alleging it supplied them illegally with risky narcotics and other painkillers. The painkillers allegedly numbed their injuries for the games, but caused them medical problems later on.
The players claim that the NFL obtained drugs such as Percodan, Percocet and Vicodin, which are pain killers, anti-inflammatories such as Toradol, and sleep aids like Ambien. These drugs were supplied to players repeatedly without prescriptions or warnings about their side effects. The players were sometimes given the pills in combinations, which can be dangerous.
The drugs allegedly were given to players so that if they were injured, they could return to the field as quickly as possible. According to the lawsuit, some players had broken legs or ankles but were given pills to cover up the pain. At least one player alleges that when he needed surgery, he was given anti-inflammatory drugs and missed practices in order to play in the game. A team doctor allegedly injected the players in the locker room before the game. One of the most popular drugs was Toradol, which was designed to numb the whole body.
One of the players who is named in the lawsuit alleges that he now suffers from kidney failure, high blood pressure and extreme headaches because of the drugs he was given. Other players report other health problems, including permanent damage to nerves and organs, and chronic problems with muscles and bones.
The players allege that by giving them the painkillers, the NFL was violating federal and state controlled substance laws. The players say that although they knew they were taking dangerous drugs, there was a fear of losing their jobs if they objected or if they didn’t return to the field quickly after an injury. Many players have left the NFL with serious prescription drug addictions, and some even have faced criminal charges relating to the theft or possession of narcotic painkillers.
The NFL hasn’t yet responded to the lawsuit, and it’s unclear to what extent the practices involving illegal painkillers are still going on in the league. Although players have a certain duty to protect themselves and their health, their employer also has the duty to not take illegal actions (providing them with illegal painkillers) that will result in harm to the players. When the league provides players with illegal prescription drugs, advises them to ignore broken bones or other serious medical issues in order to play in a game, and gives players the opportunity to leave the league injured and addicted, the league is legally and financially responsible for damages.
Any employer who expects its employees to take painkillers so that they can work while injured, with the threat of termination if they refuse, is violating the law and should be sued. The employer should also face criminal charges relating to the illegal narcotic distribution as well. A qualified personal injury attorney can help employees fight for their legal rights under the law.
If you believe that your employer has violated your legal rights by forcing you to do something illegal, you may have a potential claim under federal or state law, or both. Your employer could face civil and criminal penalties. It’s important that you contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty helps personal injury victims, as well as mistreated employees, fight for their rights under the law. In many cases, victims of mistreatment by employees can obtain back pay and benefits, and more depending on the facts of the case. If you believe that your legal rights have been violated, call Micha Star Liberty, San Francisco personal injury attorney, at 510-645-1000 or 415-896-1000. She serves clients throughout the Oakland-San Francisco area, and will be happy to help you with your case. Call to schedule your free consultation.