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Former Australian rugby league star admits to drug problem

Former Australian rugby league star admits to drug problem

Former Australian rugby league captain Andrew Johns has admitted to prolonged drug use.
Johns, contradicting a statement issued by his management company earlier Thursday, said he intended to take an ecstasy tablet that he was caught with by transport police in England. He was arrested but not charged.
Johns was quoted later Thursday by News Limited newspapers as saying he intended to take the tablet.
"I took the drugs to escape from the pressure and get away from being a football player," Johns said. "I was going to take the pill for sure. I'm not looking for sympathy, I put my hand up. I've done the wrong thing."
Earlier, a statement said that following an interview with police, "he was told the misdemeanor did not warrant being charged and instead was given an official caution.
"Johns said today he recalled an unknown person pushing a tablet into his jeans at a crowded entertainment venue last Sunday _ his last day in the United Kingdom following a six weeks' overseas holiday."
In an interview later Thursday with the Nine television network's Footy Show, Johns said he took drugs during most of his football career.
"Probably 10 years I've taken it (ecstasy) on and off. Generally during the offseason but there's times when during the season I've run the gauntlet and played Russian roulette and taken it," said Johns.
"I wouldn't say I was in drug dependency, I'd do it occasionally. I think I had an alcohol problem."
"My past 10 or 12 years has been like a fairytale and I've been so lucky to experience so much. But I think about some of the great times I've had and they've just been destroyed because I've taken drugs."
Johns, who was forced to retire in April by a recurring neck injury, had been coaching some of Australia's rugby union kickers ahead of the World Cup in France.
The Australian Rugby Union said Thursday that Johns would not be working further with the Wallabies.
"It wasn't a done deal that he'd be contributing to the team in France," ARU chief executive John O'Neill said through a spokesman. "Given the current circumstances, the Wallabies will continue as is in France."
In his original statement, Johns said: "I have been a very foolish person and realize I have brought great disappointment to my family, friends and many people, including lots of youngsters who have looked up to me over the years. It has left a black mark on my reputation which I will work very hard at erasing."
Described as the most gifted scrumhalf in rugby league history, Johns led Newcastle to premiership victories in Australia's National Rugby League in 1997 and 2001.
He played 23 State of Origin games for New South Wales and 21 test matches for Australia, including the 1995 World Cup. He ended his career with a record 2,176 points from 249 first grade games.


Updated : 2021-01-22 15:38 GMT+08:00