CHIEF executive Andrew Demetriou admitted he expected a "spike" in the number of AFL players recording positive drug tests this year, in line with a major increase in the use of illicit drugs in Victoria.
But speaking ahead of yesterday's historic AFL drugs summit in Melbourne, Demetriou told radio station 3AW he thought the AFL's three strikes drug regime was working.
He said the policy, criticised by clubs because they weren't notified of the situation until after the third strike, had been "adopted around the world".
Demetriou also said he did not believe the self-reporting "loophole", which allows players to report the fact they are using drugs in order to avoid a strike, was being exploited to the extent suggested in some media reports in recent days.
"I can tell you that it is not being abused to the extent that's being reported," he said.
"There's probably a loophole there … that I am sure will be discussed today and closed.
"We have got two very experienced medical officers and if they believe a player is rorting the system, I don't believe they will allow the self-notification.
"I think you'll see today issues around a limit on how many times you can self-notify in a period of time."
The summit was attended by club presidents and administrators, police, psychologists and representatives of the Australian Drug Foundation and the AFL Players Association.
Demetriou said while he was going into the summit with an open mind, he was convinced players who did the wrong thing would be caught.
"Like in any group of people, there are some players out there who think they are above the rules and regulations of the code, or above worrying about the image or the role model that they hold in the code," he said.
"And if they do that… they do that at their peril. There's no place for them in the game."