That is among several revelations contained in the "Notice of Charge" that the AFL has issued against the club, which was made public on Wednesday afternoon.
The document includes several damning text message and email exchanges between key people at Essendon -including coach James Hird, people and development manager Danny Corcoran, high-performance manager Dean Robinson and sports scientist Stephen Dank - and the club's drug suppliers.
It also includes a full transcript of the letter written to Hird and then-football manager Paul Hamilton by club doctor Bruce Reid.
In the letter, dated January 17, 2012, Reid states: "I have some fundamental problems being club doctor at present. This particularly applies to the administration of supplements."
At the same time as the charge sheet was released, the League also announced that its chairman, Mike Fitzpatrick, has called a meeting of all 18 club presidents to be held at AFL House at 3pm on Thursday.
Fitzpatrick will brief the presidents on the extent of the charges at the meeting.
The cover page of the document released on Wednesday states that Essendon has been charged with engaging in "conduct unbecoming or likely to prejudice the interests or reputation of the Australian Football League or to bring the game of football into disrepute".
Among the key pieces of information contained in the document are:
- In August 2011, Hird was warned by both the AFL and ASADA that "peptides were a serious risk to the integrity of the AFL, in the same category as steroids and HGH [human growth hormone]." He was implored "to report to the AFL if he came across any information relating to peptides".
- In October 2011, Robinson suggested to Dank that they should avoid using the term peptides when referring to various substances they were administering to the players. They decided to call peptides "amino acids or something". As a result, "it is reasonably likely that players and support staff who were injected with 'amino acids' received peptides".
- Hird suffered side effects from self-administering a drug called Melanotan II. Despite this, "Hird did not recognise or respond to the indication that the supplements program potentially posed a risk to the players' health, welfare and safety."
- Had the supplements program continued as planned, 26,000 injections would have been administered to Essendon players.
- The peptides used by Essendon were ordered "with the assistance of Shane Charter, a convicted drug dealer …"
- It is "reasonably likely" that some Essendon players were administered with Thymosin Beta-4, which is prohibited by the AFL Anti-Doping Code and the World Anti-Doping Code.
- Thirty-four Essendon players were injected with an amino acid compound sourced from a chemist in Mexico and bought without a prescription by a patient of chiropractor Dr Malcolm Hooper who was suffering from muscular dystrophy.
In a statement released along with the charge sheet on Wednesday afternoon, the League said:
"In light of the importance of the AFL’s investigation and the legitimate interest of the public in matters pertaining to the integrity of the AFL competition, in the interests of transparency and so that the public can have an understanding of the nature of the charges relating to these matters, the AFL has decided to publish the Statement of Grounds for Essendon Football Club.
"The AFL notes that certain confidential parts of the Statement of Grounds have been redacted.
"The AFL highlights that the Statement of Grounds contains the charges only and their correctness or otherwise remains to be determined.
"The Essendon Football Club and all other parties will be given every reasonable opportunity to answer these charges."