Athletes Who Were Drug Addicts 

Jessica Lawshe
Updated October 17, 2019 48.2k views 15 items

As the athletes on this list of athletes who were drug addicts prov that sports and hardcore drugs tragically seem to go hand-in-hand. It’s a sad fact that there are so many athletes addicted to drugs. And it’s not an uncommon story: a young, talented athlete is thrown into a completely new life filled with fame, fortune, and huge amounts of money. For the drug addicted athletes on this list, that money went right toward getting their fix. 

Some athletes are able to move away from drug use and get their lives back on track. MLB All-Star Darryl Strawberry has come forward with his story of addiction, and before his death in 2008, Dock Ellis was actually hired by the Yankees to counsel their minor leaguers about the dangers of drug use. Sadly, other athletes do not share similar stories of recovery. Canadian hockey player Derek Boogaard, who died of an overdose, was able to get multiple doctors to write him prescriptions for drugs including hydrocodone, oxycodone, and Ambien before he passed away. 

Drug addiction can be a terrifying and heart-breaking story, and one that happens far too often in the world of sports. 


Michael Phelps is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Athletes Who Were Drug Addicts
Photo: jdlasica/flickr/CC-BY-NC 2.0

After being photographed smoking marijuana just months after his record-breaking Olympic performance, Michael Phelps announced over Twitter that he would be entering rehab. According to Brookhaven Hospital, the swimmer entered a six-week program with the hope of getting help.

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Tyler Skaggs is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Athletes Who Were Drug Addicts
Photo: Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons

Tyler Skaggs was a beloved pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels who reportedly abused oxycodone for years before he died of an overdose in July 2019 while on a team road trip in Texas.

Lamar Odom is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Athletes Who Were Drug Addicts
Photo: David Shankbone/flickr/CC-BY 2.0
According to Radar Online, Lamar Odom "smoked more than $50,000 worth of cocaine" in a period of three years. He later overdosed at a Nevada brothel and nearly died. 

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Darryl Strawberry is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Athletes Who Were Drug Addicts
Photo: slgckgc/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

As four-time World Series champion and eight-time MLB All-Star Darryl Strawberry told"Drug addiction is very powerful. Drugs have been around sports forever and players have done them forever. I wasn't the first one... there were a lot of other players who did them too. We were high-profile and there was more recognition on us because of the fall of who we were — such great talents at such a young age.”

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