The number of AFL players testing positive for illicit drugs has fallen from 26 in 2012 to 15 in 2013, the league has announced.
On Friday the AFL revealed the results of its out-of-competition drug testing of players, with 1998 total tests for 15 positive detections.
The figure, while down on 2012, is still the third highest number of positive tests since 2005.
“The detections last year mean that 15 players have been subject to early intervention in the form of expert counselling, treatment and ongoing monitoring under this medical and welfare-based policy approach,” AFL general manager of football operations, Mark Evans, said in a statement.
“Illicit drug use is a significant issue across the broader community and the AFL playing group largely falls within the high risk 18-30 male age group.
“Significantly, our advice is that the rate of illicit drug use within the AFL playing group remains substantially lower compared with the same age group of young men in the wider community.”
All the positive tests were for stimulants as opposed to cannabis and other drugs, mirroring the 2012 results where 25 out of 26 tests related to stimulants.
Of those players who tested positive, 14 had not previously failed a test.
One player tested positive for a second time, and there were no players who failed for a third time.
However, AFL medical officer Dr Peter Harcourt said that there were four current players on two detections who were subject to “intense target testing” as part of their treatment programs.
Under the AFL’s “three strikes” policy, only club doctors are informed after a second positive test, and players are only disciplined after a third positive.