"I KNOW how destructive drugs can be."
With those words, Gary Ablett has opened up on the impact drugs have had on both his life and the Gold Coast Football Club.
The Suns have endured the most tumultuous week in the club's short history with former player Karmichael Hunt and current star Harley Bennell caught up in drugs controversies.
Ablett said the whole saga had hurt him.
In a revealing chat following his triumphant return against North Melbourne on Saturday night, the dual Brownlow medalist said it had been a tough time.
"That was the hardest thing for me to take. I know how destructive drugs can be," Ablett said.
"It might be a bit of a wake-up call, which is probably what we needed.
"It disappoints me because I’ve got people who are close to me in my life that I’ve seen how destructive it can be, so I care about these guys, the boys as people, and as a leader it's not just helping them grow as footballers, it's helping them grow as people as well, and that's what hurt me.
"I know that everyone makes mistakes and we've just got to make sure we get around them and continue to educate them in the right way."
Hunt accused former Suns teammates of being cocaine users, while photographs of Bennell allegedly taking illicit drugs were run in newspapers all over the country.
Ablett said following the revelations, the club had to deal with the issues and move forward.
He said he wanted to be a voice in the process and guide his younger teammates.
"That stuff's come out and we need to hit it on the head, we need to make sure we get around Harley, we continue to educate the boys and make sure it doesn't happen again.
"I've always said the guys as people is more important to me than as footballers."
Ablett said his own leadership had improved under Eade this season.
"The area Rocket really challenged me was to make sure I'm more vocal on the training track," he said.
"I wouldn't say that I wasn't vocal, but obviously, as a leader with a young group, I obviously needed to drive the standards more so that's something I've really been working on.
"Always improving, always learning in life and I’ll continue to do that until the day I retire."