Updated: Friday, 28 February 2014 10:42 | By Agence France-Presse

Stilnox not a problem for swimmers, world champion Magnussen says

World champion James Magnussen said on Friday Stilnox was not an issue among current Australian swimmers in the wake of Grant Hackett seeking treatment for addiction to the prescription drug.


Stilnox not a problem for swimmers, world champion Magnussen says

Australian swimmer James Magnussen, pictured during a press conference in Berlin, Germany, on August 9, 2013 - by John Macdougall

Magnussen, who was a member of the Australian relay team at the 2012 London Olympics that took the sleeping tablet at a pre-Games camp, said he did not know of any Australian swimmers that now used it.

"In the current day swimming, I don't think it's a problem at all," he told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Stilnox is a drug used to treat insomnia, with athletes sometimes prescribed it if they are having trouble sleeping before big events, although it has now been banned by the Australian Olympic Committee.

Australian swimming great Hackett, who won the 1,500m freestyle at both the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, headed to the United States this week to seek treatment for his addiction to the drug, his manager said.

The news came just weeks after fellow Australian swimming legend Ian Thorpe began treatment for depression after a mixture of painkillers and anti-depressants left him disoriented on a Sydney street.

Magnussen said Stilnox was no longer prescribed to Australian swimmers and it was not an issue.

"We don't get prescribed it, I don't use it, people around me don't use it," he said.

"It's something that is not even spoken about within Swimming Australia today. It's not a problem as far as I can see."

The bonding session in England ahead of the London Olympics was the subject of an investigation by the Australian Olympic Committee because it had banned team members, regardless of their discipline, from using the tablet.

It culminated with the entire 4x100m men's relay squad -- Magnussen, Tommaso D'Orsogna, Cameron McEvoy, Eamon Sullivan, Matt Targett and James Roberts -- being fined an undisclosed sum and handed suspended sentences.

Magnussen said Stilnox was used previously as a substitute for the alcohol that was once traditionally consumed at team-bonding sessions.

"It wasn't for sleep in that instance," he said. "It was an attempt at bonding and it, yeah ... it went wrong."

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