Wayne Carey details his cocaine use after being caught with bag of white powder at casino


Former AFL star Wayne Carey’s run-in with security guards at Perth’s Star Casino this week isn’t the first time he has been linked to a suspicious bag of white powder.

The only difference is that on this occasion he is denying the bag in question contained an illegal substance. In the past he has been open about his illicit drug use, admitting heavy cocaine use was the final straw that ended his first marriage, and almost cost him his life.

In his 2009 biography The Truth Hurts, Carey devotes an entire chapter to his drug use, saying he first took cocaine during a trip to the US in 2002, after an affair with Kelli Stevens, the wife of teammate Anthony Stevens, saw him leave the North Melbourne Kangaroos in disgrace.

Carey says he went on a 14-hour cocaine bender while in Memphis to watch the Mike Tyson-Lennox Lewis fight.

Wayne’s Carey’s mugshot after the star faced a Miami court charged with battery of a police officer when he was accused of assaulting his girlfriend in 2007

'The King' celebrates after winning the AFL Grand Final with North Melbourne in 1996. Carey says his use of cocaine started six years later on a trip to America

‘The King’ celebrates after winning the AFL Grand Final with North Melbourne in 1996. Carey says his use of cocaine started six years later on a trip to America

‘It was purely an impulsive decision,’ he says in the book. ‘I guess my self-esteem was shot to bits. I didn’t really give a shit about what happened to me. I was feeling that miserable I thought ‘why not give it a go?’

At one stage Carey snorted so much of the drug that his nose started bleeding uncontrollably.

‘I didn’t know what was going on. I thought I was dying but I soon staunched the flow and in no time I began to feel good again. I was ready to party on.

‘From never having tried drugs 12 hours earlier, I was now snorting coke at regular intervals. It was typical of my ‘all or nothing’ bingeing personality. It wasn’t enough to have one beer or one line of coke. It had to be an all-out bender.’

Carey says that later during that trip he flew to Cancun in Mexico, where his drug use escalated.

Carey began a relationship with actress Kate Neilson (pictured) which he alleges opened the door to a whole new drug scene

Carey began a relationship with actress Kate Neilson (pictured) which he alleges opened the door to a whole new drug scene

‘Not content with my cocaine misadventures, it was here that I tried ecstasy for the first time,’ he wrote.

Deciding to make a comeback to football, Carey vowed to stay away from drugs when he returned to Australia. The self-imposed ban lasted one month.

With five clubs vying for his services and a decision imminent, he says the pressure sent him into a downward spiral. He headed out on a Friday night with his choice of new club due to be announced the following Monday.

‘For the next three and a half days I took cocaine and ecstasy in hotel rooms, Crown Casino, friends’ houses, pub toilets and a strip club. It was the bender to end all benders,’ he says.

‘After the Friday night session, I went home and got a few hours’ sleep before starting up again Saturday lunchtime, and then pretty much going all the way through until Monday.

Carey says when he got tired of drinking beer, he'd snort a line of coke or pop an ecstasy tablet, just to fire up again and stay in the party mood

Carey says when he got tired of drinking beer, he’d snort a line of coke or pop an ecstasy tablet, just to fire up again and stay in the party mood

‘When I got tired of drinking beer, I’d snort a line of coke or pop an ecstasy tablet, just to fire up again and stay in the party mood. As the bender dragged on, some people would drop off and a fresh batch of mates would arrive – and that’s my memory of that long, long weekend.’

Included in the revolving cast of characters were friends of Melbourne gangland figure Jason Moran.

Carey says if former teammate Johnny McNamara hadn’t ‘rescued’ him out of a pub in Port Melbourne on the Monday morning he would have overdosed.

‘I’d have kept going and going, such was the urge to obliterate the pain,’ he wrote. ‘In fact, I’ve got not much doubt that I’d have kept going until I killed myself. That’s how utterly helpless and self-destructive I was feeling.’

Although still married to his pregnant wife Sally, Carey began a relationship with actress Kate Neilson which he alleges opened the door to a whole new drug scene.

Carey (pictured with Kate Neilson as he left a Melbourne court in 2009) says he hid his heavy drinking and cocaine use from his co-workers while assistant coaching with Carlton and doing media work with Foxtel

Carey (pictured with Kate Neilson as he left a Melbourne court in 2009) says he hid his heavy drinking and cocaine use from his co-workers while assistant coaching with Carlton and doing media work with Foxtel

‘Kate and I would be at parties where there’d be all sorts of professional people, high-fliers, recognisable faces doing drugs,’ he said. ‘There is almost an unofficial cocaine user’s club and you tended to see the same faces at different gatherings.

After two seasons with the Adelaide Crows, Carey retired from playing and moved into assistant coaching with Carlton and media work with Foxtel. He says he hid his heavy drinking and cocaine use from his co-workers.

‘For some reason I thought I was the invisible man,’ he wrote. ‘I thought I could be sitting in a pub or club with Kate and all her friends and going in and out of the toilets every 40 minutes, and people wouldn’t notice. I was living in fantasyland.

‘The make-up girl at Foxtel became my best friend, making the bags under my eyes disappear and transforming me into something almost presentable for the TV screen.’

Carey is pictured with wife Sally McMahon at a Kangaroos function in 2005 - the year he claims she discovered his heavy cocaine use. The couple would split in 2006

Carey is pictured with wife Sally McMahon at a Kangaroos function in 2005 – the year he claims she discovered his heavy cocaine use. The couple would split in 2006

Carey says his wife found out about his drug taking in the last few weeks of her pregnancy.

Staying with friends at a holiday house on the Mornington Peninsula over the 2005 New Year’s break, Sally became suspicious when Carey and other guests regularly disappeared to the bathroom to snort cocaine he had brought with him.

The next morning, she found a bag of the white powder in his discarded jeans on the bedroom floor.

Carey tried telling his wife that the drugs belonged to someone else at the party, then that it was speed rather than cocaine, as if that made it better. Sally wasn’t buying any of it. She moved out of their Port Melbourne apartment and headed home to her family in the NSW town of Wagga.

Their daughter Ella was born 11 days later.

‘Three nights after Ella was born, I took drugs,’ Carey says. ‘So much cocaine, in fact that I was off my head.’

The 51-year-old insists the zip-lock bag of white powder that he dropped on a gaming table in a Perth casino did not contain any illegal substances

The 51-year-old insists the zip-lock bag of white powder that he dropped on a gaming table in a Perth casino did not contain any illegal substances

The couple officially split in late February 2006, six weeks after the birth of their daughter.

Carey would have more drug and alcohol-fueled meltdowns over the next few years – including one that saw him locked up in a Florida prison cell for resisting arrest – but there was one thing that he says he regrets more than all others.

‘Sure, I regret the affair with Kelli Stevens and the impact that had on Stevo (Anthony Stevens) and the Kangaroos and many other people, including Sally,’ he wrote. ‘But I find it much harder to forgive myself for those five years when I didn’t just neglect my marriage, I trampled all over it.’

As far as the incident at Crown Casino last Thursday is concerned, Carey, 51, says the zip-lock bag of white powder that he dropped on a gaming table did not contain any illegal substances but rather held ‘crushed up anti-inflammatory drugs’ he uses for pain relief. 

He has not been charged with any offence, although he has been banned for two years by Crown and stood down from his commentary duties with Channel 7 and Triple M.

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