Usually you will find my story every Monday morning at 7:00 am eastern, full of sarcasm, and intentionally edgy in its tone. Today is not going to be just another Monday.
It was almost eight months to the day after writing this story, Two Junior Hockey Players Arrested For Heroin Possession – Death Pool Special Dope Report , that I received the tragic news of Chad Miller.
While details are hard to come by at this time, as of Saturday, Chad Miller was in the hospital, reportedly on life support after being found by friends. Multiple sources are reporting that Chad Miller accidentally overdosed on drugs.
While I am usually pretty hard on players who make poor choices, everyone needs to have Chad and the Miller family in their thoughts at this time.
Life is imperfect. We all make mistakes, and hopefully we all learn from them. While the prognosis is said to be grim, there is always hope.
How does this happen?
USA Hockey has a drug policy, see below:
D. CONSUMPTION/– USE/AB– USE OF MOOD ALTERING SUBSTANCES
It is the considered judgment of the Board of Directors of USA Hockey that consumption/use/abuse of mood altering substances is detrimental to a healthy state of mind, body, and spirit in an athletic participant. This is especially true for those participants aspiring to develop their talents in the furtherance of their playing, or coaching, or officiating careers in the sport of ice hockey. Therefore, with the best interests of its participants in mind, USA Hockey prohibits use by any participant of mood altering substances during active participation in its programs, and, upon discovery of any violation, shall take action to remove the participant from participation in its programs for a reasonable period of time.
Further, USA Hockey hereby recommends that each and all of its teams, associations, programs and affiliates adopt reasonable regulations concerning the prohibition of consumption/use/abuse of mood altering substances, and a reasonable enforcement procedure thereafter, in order to maintain the health of our athlete participants, the integrity of our programs, and the eligibility of all of our competitors for national, international, and collegiate competition.
For purposes of this policy, the words “mood altering substances” shall include the following:
1. Intoxicating beverages, including, but not limited to, alcohol.
2. Non-prescription or prescribed controlled substances.
3. Prescription or prescribed controlled substances when used to an excess in violation of doctors orders, or to produce the state of intoxication in the participant.
Further, a participant shall include players, coaches, referees, and all persons involved in the conduct of an ice hockey contest.
Why is there no mandatory drug testing, and mandatory suspensions for players who test positive? Drug tests are cheap! You can buy a very good test for under ten dollars! Mandatory drug testing in all sports, is long over due. If you don’t want to take the test, then you don’t play, pretty simple.
Chad Miller and all other athletes facing issues with substances are failed by a system that does not require compliance, and has no real standards.
Life is about second chances. But all second chances come with conditions, whether they are written or just understood. How do we as a society protect our young men and women from going back to bad habits when there really is no standard to be met?
Mandatory drug testing is something that is long over due. A strict set of standards, similar to those used by the NHL, needs to be implemented. Lives, and families will be saved.
While some may complain of an invasion of their privacy, those same people can always choose another sport. Some may complain that it will be too expensive. Is a life worth ten dollars? Is a life worth a few thousand dollars over the course of a year? That’s all we are really talking about here, a few thousand dollars a year per team. I am sure every team could find a sponsor to pay for that.
Will a drug test solve everyone’s problems? No. But can it identify a problem before it becomes life threatening? Yes. Can it be the gateway to getting help? Yes. In the end, it about protecting young people from their poor choices. It is about saving lives, and pain. It is bigger than the game, it is about taking care of those we call family.
Someone needs to do something because no parent should ever have to experience what the Miller’s are experiencing today.
David Wagner – The Angel Of Death – For Those Who Live Stupidly I salute You
*The Death Pool is a mix of comedy, and satire in connection with recent events. It is not an official report of current events although it may look as though the news is so accurate that it could one day happen or may be happening.