DREW Petrie, the North Melbourne vice-captain and AFL Players Association board member, says players must not be victimised if there is change to the illicit drugs policy.
As the AFL, club administrators, players and medical experts prepare for the welfare summit on Wednesday, at which the debate over drug use by players will be the headline item, Petrie says education remains the biggest weapon in dealing with the issue that has several club bosses concerned.
Petrie does not believe the three-strikes policy will be changed and has warned against making rash decisions.
''I can't see it budging. It's about educating and player welfare at heart. It's not about hanging a player after a first offence,'' he said.
''It's about educating them and making them better.
''If you use drugs, you will get caught one way or another, whether it's next week, next month, next year.
''Lance Armstrong is an example recently. All this time later he got caught. Just don't do it.
''There is some great education around illicit drug use and obviously not to do it. There is plenty of testing now, which serves as a great deterrent to anybody thinking of it.''
Jimmy Bartel, Geelong's delegate to the AFLPA, has said the loophole allowing players to self-report, thus avoiding a test and strike, will be scrutinised.
The AFLPA will be represented at the meeting by chief executive Matt Finnis and board members Luke Ball (president), Robert Murphy and Daniel Jackson.
In a wide-ranging interview, Petrie has also spoken about a 2012 campaign in which he said he had ''learnt some valuable lessons''.
Petrie was interrogated by AFL investigators over his comments after the round-20 clash with Essendon in which he claimed teammate Lachie Hansen had thrown up at half-time.
Hansen was reportedly unconscious following a head clash with Nathan Lovett-Murray. He returned to kick two goals in North's match-winning final quarter, which the club completed with 19 men available.
North was questioned over whether Hansen had returned to the field concussed. The AFL later announced the Kangaroos had handled Hansen appropriately but were hit with a $20,000 fine for hindering the probe.
''I guess I was just sticking up for a teammate and the footy club and wasn't probably fully understanding of all the details of what was going on. I have learnt my lesson,'' Petrie said.
''I only went in once and spoke to an AFL investigator which I think was the week after the incident.
''No, they weren't after me. I just had an opinion and they just wanted to be thorough in their investigation. The best part about it, the AFL just wanted to look after the welfare of the player and the club wanted to do the same thing as well.''
The high-marking forward was also under investigation in July over his comments on Twitter after teammate Jack Ziebell was controversially suspended for four matches. He was cleared by the AFL of making unfair or unreasonable comment.
''I didn't want to offend anybody. I just had an opinion on a couple of incidents,'' he said.
''I am not a very big tweeter because it gets you in trouble. I will be doing even less this year.''
Petrie is off contract this season and will be a free agent.
The 222-game veteran said discussions with the club had yet to begin but he is unlikely to test the open market.
''I don't think there is any value in me pursuing anything else away from North Melbourne,'' he said.
''I am 30, which, as people like to say, are not the best days for a footballer. But my body is good, my form has been great over the last couple of years. I just have to make sure my body stays in good nick and I perform, play my role for the team.