British Columbia

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

Former Vancouver Canucks enforcer Tom Sestito took to Twitter to decry the amount of Toradol and Ambien he was given during his NHL career. He made the comments in response to Vegas Golden Knights' goalie Robin Lehner tweeting "many other teams" give out benzodiazepines and Ambien to players without prescriptions.

Tom Sestito said he overused painkiller and insomnia medication, had to be weaned off drugs

Vancouver's Tom Sestito (left) fights with Edmonton's Luke Gazdic on Oct. 5, 2013. (Jonathon Hayward/The Canadian Press)

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 "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 painkiller.

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

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

Through his agent, Sestito declined an interview request. When CBC News contacted the Canucks for reaction to Sestito's tweets, the team said it wouldn't comment on speculation. 

In a followup 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.

Credits Penguins for help

Last year, former Canucks star forward 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 Penguins, Sestito's final NHL team, for helping wean him off the drugs.

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

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