In a 32-minute video published on Wednesday morning, 2020 Call of Duty Champs winner Cuyler "Huke" Garland admitted to abusing Adderall for a competitive advantage, including abusing the performance-enhancing drug (PED) during the 2020 CDL Champs event.
Huke's decision to release the video elicited both praise and criticism from the COD community, with many condemning the player for cheating, while others welcomed his willingness to start a conversation about the often overlooked PED abuse problem in esports.
In response to Huke's video, various Call of Duty professional players shared their own stories about Adderall abuse on Wednesday. L.A. Guerillas player Maux and former London Ravens player Trei "Zer0" Morris both admitted to using the drug in the past, while a handful of other pros discussed their experiences seeing the PED abused during their time playing COD.
The Call of Duty League has yet to respond to the situation, but they are under a lot of pressure to give a statement, considering a champion just admitted to cheating during the Grand Finals of the 2020 champs event. They are also facing criticism for their failure to curb or address the ongoing Adderall crisis among COD pros.
Huke tells his story of Adderall abuse
"I have been feeling a little weird talking about this, but I feel like I have to, especially with everything going on in the COD scene," Huke said in the introduction. "I won Champs [last year], and I didn't really feel good. . . mainly because of one thing: I at the time was taking Adderall. I first took Adderall when I was 18 or 19. . . I realized that night what it was doing to me."
He continued, "this is very uncomfortable for me to talk about, but, basically it wasn't doing anything good for me. I realized it that night, I won that event with Adderall, and that feeling afterward wasn't that great. . . I was sitting there comparing it to when I first won when I was 16-years-old and completely sober. . . it was a feeling that you can't even put into words, just so much joy."
He went on to explain that Adderall made him angry instead of playing out of joy, and was even changing his personality.
"That whole off-season [quitting adderall] was what I focused on," Huke explained. "That whole off-season I was playing Black Ops 4, was committed to it, the thought still lingered for the longest time, but over time I started to build up that confidence again that I can do it sober, over time. . . I got into cold showers, meditating, and eating healthy."
He concluded with a call to action for the entire COD scene to address the pressure to use Adderall to enhance your in-game performance.
"In the community as a COD pro, it can be a pressure thing, at least for me personally," Huke stated. "Since this other person was doing it, and I wasn't doing that well at the time. You come into the league, you are doing fine, then you don't do that well and then you feel pressure to take it, because the person winning might be taking it, who knows? I just wanted to show that you can play without it, prove that to myself this year."
He concluded, "I personally want to set a positive example, that you don't need to come into the COD scene and get cracked. That's kind of how it is."
Other Call of Duty pros come forward to discuss Adderall abuse and demand change
Huke's startling confession video prompted other Pro COD players to come forward with their stories and experiences with the PED. This in turn sparked a much broader conversation about Adderall abuse in both the CDL and in esports as a whole.
COD Pro for the L.A. Guerillas Chance "Maux" Moncivaez released a Twitlonger on Wednesday, in which he explained that he was prescribed Adderall for personal reasons, but began to use more than his prescribed doses to gain an advantage in games.
"My cold war season started off really slowly. I was lost on the map and despised playing online. Just wasn't as fun and my passion was nonexistent," Maux stated in his Twitlonger. "So I changed how I took my Adderall. I started taking it right before scrims rather than the times I had been taking it. It made playing so much more enjoyable. Soon I started to get used to playing on it and I was learning the game at a rapid pace and I was having so much fun. I started taking more than I was prescribed and would take gross numbers on tournament days."
"I started needing it just to function. I would feel faded w/o it," the player continued. "I even felt depressed when I would take it. I could feel my personality had changed and I didn't feel like myself anymore. It was one of the scariest realizations that I couldn't be happy w/o a drug and that I depended on it. Luckily I had supportive friends to help me get off it and I haven't taken it in 3 months. I know a handful of players or have or are currently abusing it and this is a huge issue in the competitive CoD community that needs to be addressed by the League."
Zer0 put out a statement, saying that he stopped using PEDs after Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.
Former CDL pro Doug "Censor" Martin didn't admit to using the drug, but he did make a video praising Huke's decision to spotlight the issue, explaining that he was surrounded with PED abuse while playing professionally.
"I am really glad he made that video, because it's about damn time somebody said something and someone spoke up," Censor said. "I have grown up as a person and player in this COD scene, I have seen players taking Adderall, I have been around it before, and look I have seen the long-term negative effects it has on people. . . I am so glad I never went down that path because I don't know how it would affect me now."
He continued "I think it is really important the Call of Duty League do something, if there is anything we could do, because it's so easy to make an impression on a player to make them think that if they want to perform at the highest level, they need to take this drug, when the bottom line is they don't. . . I think we have an obligation to do something about this."
NYSL content creator and CDL pro Thomas "ZooMaa" Paparatto offered his own perspective on the issue, despite Adam Apicella calling one of his co-hosts to request they not discuss the PED situation on the show.
"At the end of the day, there are problems that need to be fixed," ZooMaa said, after his co-host Ben left the show because ZooMaa chose to discuss the PED issue. "I love the league and I love Activision, I think they are going to take the right steps to get this shit fixed and take this negative and turn it into a fucking positive. Why be quiet about something that is already public? That doesn't make any sense."
Adderall abuse has been a serious issue in both Call of Duty and esports more generally for a long time now. In the United States, the amphetamine is a schedule ll controlled substance used to treat a variety of conditions, including ADHD and narcolepsy. Due to the drug's focus-enhancing effects, it has been one of the go-to illicit PEDs used in esports.
This is a developing story, we will update it as new information becomes available.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.