Joel Smith handballs during a Melbourne training session on March 21, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos/Getty Images

MELBOURNE coach Simon Goodwin insists the club does not have a drug culture, despite Joel Smith's anti-doping case casting a shadow over the Demons' premiership pursuit.

Sports Integrity Australia (SIA) last month charged Smith with three anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs) of the Australian Football Anti-Doping Code over alleged "trafficking or attempted trafficking" of cocaine to third parties.

Smith has also been notified of another ADRV for possession of cocaine on September 9, 2022.

The 27-year-old has been suspended since October, when he was notified of a positive cocaine test following the Demons' round 20 win over Hawthorn on August 20.

The SIA investigation into Smith is ongoing. He faces a minimum four-year ban if found guilty of trafficking or attempted trafficking.

Kade Chandler (left) and Joel Smith ahead of the 2023 qualifying final between Collingwood and Melbourne at the MCG on September 7, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Goodwin said he had spoken to Smith and received an apology from the 27-year-old, who has played 42 games for the Demons over the last seven seasons.

"I've spoken to Joel and he's apologised in terms of his actions and clearly there's a cleansing (aspect to it)," Goodwin said on Monday.

"What I do know is he's got a lot of support from this footy club, and has had the whole way through.

"It's an ongoing investigation that will play out in time but all the people that are important have spoken to Joel."

Max Gawn, Simon Goodwin and Jack Viney during Melbourne's 2024 team photo day at Casey Fields on January 29, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

Smith's troubles came as close friend and star midfielder Clayton Oliver battled personal health issues over the off-season before reintegrating with the Demons' training program in January.

Goodwin kept a low profile over the summer but addressed the media ahead of the Demons' Opening Round clash with Sydney on Thursday night, rejecting suggestions of a drug culture at the club.

"We've had some challenges, yes, and we've been pretty open about those challenges with Joel and in a different way Clayton," Goodwin said.

"But no, we haven't got a culture in that (drug) space. What we have got a culture of is high performance.

"We've addressed the challenges that we've had, but we've also gone after what we really value - and that's a high-performing culture.

"You'll see a team that will train really fiercely today and hopefully you'll see a team on the weekend that plays that way as well."

Goodwin's responses to questions about a drug culture at Melbourne were in line with club captain Max Gawn and football boss Alan Richardson, who both denied a problem exists at the Demons.

Late last year, Melbourne chief executive Gary Pert said the club culture was "the best I've seen in 40 years" in football.