Swimming star Grant Hackett checks himself into rehab for drug addiction

Grant Hackett has become the latest Australian Olympic swimming star to enter rehab after the former athlete admitted to being "in transit" over a battle with prescription drugs.

The 33-year-old won three gold medals for his country at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and the 2004 Olympics in Athens before retiring from the sport in 2008.

Dailymail.co.uk says he has now been forced to own up to an addiction to prescription drug Stilnox, the sleeping pill which is used to treat mild forms of insomnia and anxiety. However, the Zolpidem drug is also known to cause strange behaviour such as hallucinations, impaired judgement and delusions.

This marks the second time that Hackett has encountered a problem with Stilnox after previously telling dailytelegraph.co.au about a "heavy reliance" on the drug as his swimming career drew to a close.

Talking in 2012, Hackett said he was initially given the drug by swimming officials at race meets, but his battle with a shoulder injury forced him to use the drug longer than usual, which had an adverse effect.

Hackett said that at one point the drug "scared" him and described Stilnox as "evil".

The Olympian has now flown out to America to seek treatment for his problem and joins the long list of former athletes who have recently sought professional help for their issues.

In one of the most recent incidents, Hackett's former Sydney 2000 teammate Ian Thorpe checked himself into rehab after being found behaving oddly near a car in Sydney.