Football: Trainee was addicted to heroin at 17
Friday 09 July 1999
Reading have sacked their 20-year-old first-team midfielder Byron Glasgow after he tested positive for cocaine and cannabis. He was one of two players who failed drugs tests last season - the other was a 17-year-old Premiership youth trainee who tested positive for the Class A substance morphine and subsequently admitted to suffering from a "serious heroin addiction".
The new initiative was announced by the FA's head of medicine, Alan Hodson, alongside the results of its season-long testing campaign. As a result of the findings Reading took swift action against Glasgow. His positive sample came after a random training ground test. He has subsequently also been charged with misconduct.
Glasgow is expected to appear before an FA disciplinary committee within the next week and will almost certainly face a lengthy suspension.
The Premiership player who tested positive for heroin cannot be named because of his age. But he has been suspended indefinitely and is receiving treatment and counselling.
It is the first recorded case of a British player admitting addiction to heroin. "We are talking about a very serious problem in this case," said Hodson. "The player was tested at his training ground and the problem would seem to be long-term. When informed the club were very shocked but, as is so often the case, they were not surprised when they looked at his recent behavioural and injury record.
"In five years we have carried out over 2,000 tests and there have been just 29 positive results. In all that time this is the first case of a player admitting a heroin addiction."
Next season a UK Sports Council scheme will carry out 1,000 random doping checks, a quarter of which will be on Premiership players.
Hodson added: "In five years we haven't had a single case of performance- enhancing drugs. Our problem seems to be with social drugs, which are rife in society anyway."
A statement from Reading said Glasgow's contract had been terminated "with great regret". It read: "We cannot condone drug-taking in any way, shape or form on or off the field. However we have contributed towards Byron's rehabilitation programme and wish him a full recovery."
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