Richie Fa’aoso has described the depths of a drugs and alcohol addictions during his rugby league career.
The retired forward said he began taking drugs as a 21-year-old with people he looked up to in NRL circles and claims the league has “a massive drug problem”.
“It is probably in every sport but there is a big drug culture in (the NRL),” the 33-year-old told News Corp Australia.
“I can only be honest and tell the truth now. There is a massive drug problem in the NRL and if you think (there isn’t) you are kidding yourself.”
Fa’aoso won the premiership with Melbourne in 2012 amid an 11-year professional career in which he played for six NRL clubs, before a series of sickening concussions and a broken neck ended his playing days.
It was after he fractured his neck while playing for the Sea Eagles in 2013 that he started taking ice.
Off the field Fa’aoso, who grew up in a broken home, also struggled with his personal demons.
“I considered taking my life, people’s lives,” he said.
“I didn’t care whether I woke up the next day or not. My marriage was struggling. I was letting down my kids, my wife, friends, family.”
The 33-year-old has recently been released from jail after serving time for a domestic violence charge.
But he is five months sober and praised the alcohol and drug rehabilitation centre on the Central Coast that has helped turn his life around.