In case you missed it this past weekend, Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Robin Lehner made claims that he and his teammates have been provided unprescribed benzodiazepines and sleeping pills by the NHL and that the practice has gone back for years.
Lehner went on a bit of an online rant, but this phrase in particular raised eyebrows:
Is it common for work places to give out benzodiazepines to employees when they travel and ambien ? Should that not be done by doctors or psychiatrist?
Um... what is going on here?
The NHL has reportedly reached out to Lehner to discuss whatever it is that Lehner seems to be driving at and the Philadelphia Flyers were forced to issue a statement essentially saying that they are in support of their medical staff and have never provided a player with unnecessary medications. Frankly, it's a mess for the NHL and I won't be surprised if more players start to tell their stories about prescription drug addiction.
Former NHL enforcer Tom Sestito, like Lehner, isn't holding back either. The tough guy who spent nine years in the NHL and put up 499 penalty minutes in just 154 career games, claims that he was given "insane" amounts of Toradol, a non-steroidal painkiller, and Ambien, a sleeping pill, during his time in the league.
"Good for @RobinLehner standing up for the greater good, I can only speak for myself, the amount of vitamin T (Toradol) and Ambien I was given is insane," said the now retired 34 year old. "As the NHL is getting a lot younger these kids should know what they are walking into," said Sestito.
I feel like it's worth mentioning that Sestito was always among the league leaders in penalty minutes each season he played in the NHL, even leading the league in 2013-14 with the Vancouver Canucks. He was a tough customer who was never afraid to drop the gloves and stick up for his teammates. That style of game, of course, leads to a lot of pain and soreness and it sounds like Sestito needed the help of prescription drugs, prescribed or not, just simply to get by day to day.
"I was given a bottle of Toradol, I was a fringe player in the NHL after taking then I felt amazing," he said. "Not a pain in my body, you’re taught to believe that the doctors have your best interest where that’s not always the case. And no they don’t explain all the drugs they provide."
Sestito credits the Pittsburgh Penguins, his final NHL club, with helping him get off of Toradol and Ambien. He also claims that it took him nearly a year "to learn how to sleep again."