The story written of Houston Astros top hitting prospect Jon Singleton by the Associated Press is a troubling one.
"At this point it's pretty evident to me that I'm a drug addict," he admittedly told the AP last week. "I don't openly tell everyone that, but it's pretty apparent to myself."
Singleton first tested positive for marijuana under MLB's drug testing program in June 2012. He allegedly quit using the drug for the remainder of the season and went on to hit .284 with 21 home runs and 79 RBI in Double-A. However, Singleton said he fell back into old habits in the fall, resulting in a second failed test in December 2012. This led to a 50-game suspension to start the 2013 campaign.
After meeting with Houston manager Bo Porter, he briefly checked into a rehabilitation center and said he hasn't smoked marijuana since. But the absence of weed has ultimately led to an even more concerning addition: alcohol.
"I went through some slight anxiety, some depression because I wasn't being successful," he said. "That was definitely difficult and that drove me to drink."
He admits to abusing alcohol as a substitute for marijuana, getting drunk almost every day and "waking up hung over every morning."
As opposed to marijuana, alcohol abuse seems to have had an adverse effect on Singleton's play on the field, as he batted just .220 last year in split time between three minor league levels. As serious as alcohol abuse is, the team apparently doesn't see it that way, as Singleton is receiving no outside support other than his own willpower.
He isn't receiving any treatment for his addiction, isn't currently in a program and doesn't have someone traveling with him to keep him on track.
Perhaps I'm wrong, but this doesn't sound like a recipe for success. Singleton clearly needs some assistance with battling substance abuse and it doesn't appear like he's receiving any right now. Although alcohol is legal nationwide, it doesn't necessarily make it safer or make it a better option than marijuana. But MLB's drug testing policy makes it seem that way.