By Rick Ritter

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — One Ravens player is making headlines nationwide with a strong push to change the NFL’s drug policy. Eugene Monroe is pleading his case for the use of medical marijuana. The star lineman believes it should be an alternative for players to treat injuries.

Rick Ritter has more on Monroe’s efforts that not everyone is on board with.

Monroe says the answer for treating injuries in the NFL can no longer be pills. Instead, he wants a safer option and he’s pushing hard for medical marijuana.

From Oxycodone to Vicodin, it’s no secret NFL players have relied on some hard-hitting drugs to ease the hits they’ve endured in the trenches.

Ravens tackle Eugene Monroe knows all too well. An offensive lineman in the league for years, Monroe wants the NFL to stop prescribing opioids for injuries, fearing players often become too addicted.

“I’ve taken Vicodin; I’ve taken Oxycodone. Those pills…they changed who I was during the time that I took them,” Monroe said.

Instead, Monroe wants the league to remove marijuana from its banned substance list, something he spoke out about in an interview with NPR.

“Marijuana is a safer drug than the opioids that players are currently being prescribed,” Monroe said.

Monroe is the first current NFL player to publicly support the use of medical marijuana to treat injuries but experts say they don’t know if cannabis is the right answer.

“There’s obviously a nationwide epidemic as it relates to opioid addiction,” said Zach Snitzer, Maryland Addiction Recovery Center.

Snitzer says while there are benefits to medical marijuana, more studies still need to be done.

“There is some research that medical marijuana may be a safer alternative for opioid use for pain but there’s not enough studies to determine that,” Snitzer said.

Monroe says he doesn’t use marijuana because of the league’s anti-marijuana policy.

The Ravens released a statement saying, “Eugene does not speak for the Ravens. These are his views.”

University officials where Monroe has donated money to have said they plan on examining current and retired NFL players to understand the impact of cannabis use and how it impacts recovering from an injury.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said in February that he believes the NFL’s current NFL drug policy is “correct, for now and in the best interest of our players and the longer-term health of our players.”

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