NRL star Jarrod Mullen has revealed the chilling circumstances surrounding his accidental overdose that almost killed him as his career hit rock bottom.
The 33-year-old has opened up about his near-death experience as he continues to fight to resurrect his career after he was smacked with a four-year doping ban.
But his use of a banned steroid has been completely overshadowed in recent years by a $1000-per-day cocaine habit that ultimately saw the former Newcastle star plead guilty to supplying the drug in 2019 as part of a syndicate in Newcastle.
It very nearly took his life.
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Mullen has told The Sydney Morning Herald of the moment he would have died from a spiralling, three-day cocaine and drug cocktail bender — if not for his parents’ decision to visit him the same day.
Mullen says he woke up in hospital after the near fatal overdose in December, 2018.
He woke up a changed man.
He was told by doctors he was one line of cocaine away from being completely deaf.
He still has scars from the darkest period of his life, including hearing loss and ringing in his ears. His cochlear nerve was damaged to the point of breaking down as a result of inhaling so much powder.
On that fateful day in 2018, Mullen accepts the habit would have claimed his life if not for his parents finding him on the couch in a bad way.
He says in the report he took OxyContin and Xanax to straighten out after his three-day cocaine bender after getting a text message from his parents they were coming over to take him out to dinner.
“When mum and dad got home four hours later I was unresponsive, grey, choking. If I was living by myself, I’d be dead,” Mullen said.
“They dragged me off the lounge and called the ambulance. For my parents to have to see their son like that still kills me. And it kills them. They still won’t let me sit on that part of the lounge.
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“They didn’t know how much I was using — or using at all. I didn’t realise how hard I’d been going. I knew I was taking hardcore drugs, but I still didn’t think I had a problem, which is amazing. It’s insane.
“A lot of people thought I’d overdosed on purpose because my life had spiralled out of control.
“I didn’t. When you’re in that addictive state, everyone else is crazy but you.”
It was much more than the fact Mullen’s football career was over.
Football was his life. Having debuted in the NRL as a teenager in high school and being selected to play State of Origin for NSW at the age of 20, Mullen was branded the next Andrew Johns.
The impossible expectations eventually overwhelmed him. Just another layer in the complex spiral that saw Mullen almost lose his life.
The chilling details of his overdose also show how far Mullen has come since he was sentenced to 300 hours of community service and given a two-year community corrections order in February for supplying cocaine.
Mullen was able to avoid a jail term reportedly on the basis that he showed Wollongong Local Court magistrate Jillian Kiely that he’d turned his life around following his arrest.
Mullen pleaded guilty in December to supplying cocaine, after police surveillance captured him buying 39 grams of cocaine on four separate occasions in November 2018 as part of a drug syndicate in Newcastle.
“Not only has he personally and professionally hit rock bottom, he almost died from an accidental overdose and suffers from permanent hearing loss,” Ms Kiely said in February, according to The Daily Telegraph.
“That would have served as an extreme wake-up call.”
Mullen has since completed a TAFE course in alcohol and drug counselling. He told the court
he was attending Narcotics Anonymous meetings and seeing a psychologist.
He does labouring work on a construction site as a stable income.
Most importantly he can look himself in the mirror each day knowing he is clean and sober.
Now living in Wollongong with partner Tamara and six-month-old daughter Stevie, Mullen is not the same man as the one that made a habit of snorting three grams of cocaine by himself every day.
Finally, Mullen is ready to move on from his cocaine habit and confront something as inconsequential as his four-year doping ban.
He tested positive to anabolic steroid drostanolone in November 2016 and had his contract torn up in 2017.
He says he was betrayed when injected with the substance. He says he was told it was simply an amino acid.
He refuses to name names.
“I’ve learnt not to trust anyone,” he says.
Like his addiction, Mullen refuses to let the bitterness of his drugs ban get the better of him.
He is on the right path — and that’s what matters.
Having declared earlier this year he is serious about returning to play in the NRL, Mullen has since been hit with reportedly cold interest from NRL clubs.
Even his former club Newcastle has declared publicly it isn’t interested in him as a player — and coach Adam O’Brien has said it would be difficult to see Mullen joining the club’s coaching staff.
It’s a hard road ahead for Mullen, but nothing compared to the hell he’s pulled himself back from.
His drugs ban ends in January.
Originally published as Chilling detail in NRL star’s cocaine bender