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Grant Hackett admits he was hooked on pills

Grant Hackett admits he was hooked on pills

Sun July 1, 2012 9:45am

Hackett further used the pills to help him sleep while suffering the shoulder injury between the Athens and Beijing Games, but his use of them spiralled to a point where he could not remember things.

Hackett denied using Stilnox after his career ended with a silver medal in the 1500m at the Beijing Games.

"My experiences taught me that Stilnox should be taken with caution, but to suggest any reckless involvement on my part would be another shattering blow at this time,'' Hackett said.

He strongly encouraged The Sunday Times to consult with Australian Swimming, and the doctors who provided prescriptions. Hackett moved to Melbourne from the Gold Coast with his wife in 2007.

"I was responsible, but I was not aware of the (potential) side effects."

Stilnox is widely known to cause strange behaviour, hallucinations, delusions and impaired judgment as well as affect reasoning.

Prevalence of Australian sports stars abusing Stilnox has risen over recent years, with revelations league and AFL players have been caught mixing the drug with energy drinks for a euphoric effect.

One of Australia's leading sports doctors, Brian Sando, who treated Hackett at the 2004 Athens Olympics, said he couldn't be certain what medications were issued.

But, he said, he "couldn't rule out" if the swimmer requested the controversial tablets. Dr Sando said he preferred not to write scripts for the drug.

Swimming Australia CEO Kevin Neil said no policy was in place regarding Stilnox or other sleeping pills during this month's London Olympics.

AOC president John Coates said: "Olympic team doctors do not prescribe Stilnox and did not in Beijing in 2008. However, we cannot prevent athletes getting access to Stilnox via other doctors or means."

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