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Tom Sestito (ex Canuck enforcer) implicates NHL in prescription pain killer abuse

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Tom Sestito (former Canuck enforcer) is adding his story to the mix now regarding his experience with the supply and abuse of prescription pain killers amongst the NHL. Seeing as he played the bulk of his career with Vancouver, it’ll be interesting to see how the organization responds.






Former Canucks enforcer tweets about 'insane' amount of Toradol and Ambien he was given in NHL

Mon, October 4, 2021, 6:33 PM
Vancouver's Tom Sestito (left) fights with Edmonton's Luke Gazdic on Oct. 5, 2013.  (Jonathon Hayward/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Vancouver's Tom Sestito (left) fights with Edmonton's Luke Gazdic on Oct. 5, 2013. (Jonathon Hayward/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Former Vancouver Canucks enforcer Tom Sestito says the amount of Toradol and Ambien he was given during his NHL career was "insane."

The now-retired player made the comments on Twitter in response to Vegas Golden Knights' goalie Robin Lehner tweeting that "many other teams" give out benzodiazepines and Ambien — medications typically used to treat insomnia — to players without prescriptions.


"Good for @RobinLehner standing up for the greater good, I can only speak for myself, the amount of vitamin T (Toradol) and Ambien I was given is insane. As the NHL is getting a lot younger these kids should know what they are walking into," said Sestito.


Toradol is a prescription, non-steroidal pain killer.


Sestito played 154 games in the NHL, including 103 games with Vancouver where he led the league in penalty minutes during his first Canucks season in 2013-14.


He also spent time with the Columbus Blue Jackets, Philadelphia Flyers and the Pittsburgh Penguins.


Through his agent, Sestito declined an interview request.


In a follow up tweet he talked about how, as a fringe NHL player, he was once given a bottle of Toradol. He did not specify where he was playing at the time.  

..."after taking them I felt amazing. Not a pain in my body, you're taught to believe that the doctors have your best interest where that's not always the case. And no they don't explain all the drugs they provide."


Overuse of Toradol has been reported across a number of professional sports.

Last year, former Vancouver Canucks star Ryan Kesler told TSN's Rick Westhead he had been diagnosed with Crohn's disease which doctors believe was caused by Toradol abuse during his playing days.


Sestito said it took him close to a year of being off Ambien "to learn how to sleep again."


He gave credit to the Pittsburgh Penguins, the final NHL team he played on, for helping wean him off the drugs.

"...there are great organizations in the NHL, @penguins team of doctors were the ones to get me off all that $&!#, and were dumbfounded as to why I had all of it to begin with," he tweeted.

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Unfortunately, since AV has been outed by Lehner, and that AV was one of our longer-lasting coaches, I'm not surprised if the Vancouver Canucks are the one team that has been handing out drugs like Toradol and Ambien.


I really wonder if there's a story with Gillis too, though it seems to me that he cares about his own players.


The more I think about it, the more I think Vancouver is definitely one of the 'bad' teams.


Edit: I realize now that AV did not actually employ shotblocking nearly as much as I thought.

Edited by Dazzle
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Dude's a meathead, but he's worth taking seriously on a topic like this. As someone who's career relied on throwing down and being physical, particularly as a fringe guy, it'd likely be a part of his lived experience. Kesler having spoken up about it in the past just makes it more concrete for me. 



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This isn't much of a surprise, but the story has legs now. Atheletes taking pain killers to keep competing is not new. There are playoff stories about players competing with fractured bones. How the hell do you think that happened.? Saying that, Vancouver is definitely going to be named here.

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I guess that’s what happens when you have an 82 games regular season plus playoffs. Cut the regular season schedule and spread out the games more so these guys can actually recover from injuries instead of popping pills so they won’t miss 10 games if they’re out for a couple weeks. Always thought there’s way too many games in a season especially for a sport like hockey where the toll on the body is extreme

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I just don’t want to see the club being made an example of especially when this is an obvious and common occurrence amongst all professional sports leagues. If the NHL quickly becomes a “problem child” it’ll be interesting to see who goes after the NFL. 

Toronto based media would have a field day riding this if the Canucks become the league scapegoat. 

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21 minutes ago, StanleyCupOneDay said:

Definitely seeing fire in all this smoke. Wonder who else/next will speak up?

Unfortunately some of the players that would have spoken up are no longer with us.  This stuff happens in every sport.  The NFL is probably ten times worse than the NHL.  You mix the concussions which lead to the CTE and then you add the opioids which lead you to all kinds of other bad stuff and you have a recipe for disaster.

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3 minutes ago, CBH1926 said:

That’s is absolutely crazy!
Next thing you know, we are going to hear about NFL and MLB players taking steroids.

The difference with steroids is that the players were taking them without the teams knowledge or consent.  It was hidden until it came out in the open.  With drugs like Toradol, Ambien and the opioids they are actually being given out by the teams medical staff to "treat" the injuries.  It looks like they are even giving them to the players without a prescription.  

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