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The NRL today welcomed an offer by the South Sydney club to pilot hair follicle testing for prescription drugs.

Head of Integrity, Nick Weeks said the prospect of hair testing has been the subject of discussion between the NRL and RLPA for several months. 

He said the NRL is currently conducting more than 2000 tests a year to determine whether the misuse of prescription drugs is an issue in the game and whether further action is required.  The testing regime has been developed with all Clubs and the RLPA and it detects the use of sleeping medications (such as Valium) and pain relievers or opiates (such as Oxycodone). 

Mr Weeks said the NRL's testing for prescription drug use by its players exceeds that of any other sport in the country.  

“It is clear, however, that there has been a major incident this week and it is appropriate that the additional measures proposed by Souths are initially trialled there,” Mr Weeks said.

Mr Weeks said that, under NRL rules, clubs are prohibited from undertaking their own drug tests to ensure all results are independently run and transparent.

“So we will sit down and talk with Souths about the opportunity for the NRL and RLPA to oversee the operation and data collection from follicle testing of players at the club,” the spokesman said.

Mr Weeks said any trial would need the agreement of the RLPA. 

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