NEW YORK, JUNE 24 -- New York Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden says he first tried cocaine in high school and was using it once a week before being caught this spring, The New York Post reported in Thursday editions.

Gooden told the paper he never used cocaine during the season or in the Mets clubhouse and as far as he knows none of his teammates ever knew of his problem.

"No one really knew because because when I did it in spring training, it'd always be away from the clubhouse," the Post quoted Gooden. "I never, ever, brought any of the stuff near the clubhouse. And I never pulled it out in front of Straw {teammate Darryl Strawberry}."

The report addressed several of the questions that developed since the club announced on April 1 Gooden tested positive for substance abuse.

The 1985 Cy Young Award winner entered the Smithers Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center one day after the announcement. He is 3-1 since returning to the Mets and is scheduled to pitch Thursday against the Chicago Cubs.

Gooden started using cocaine in high school but stayed away from it until 1984, the Post said. He used it during the offseason with friends in his hometown of Tampa, Fla.

"As far as I know, no one else on the Mets is or was using drugs," the Post quoted Gooden.

Gooden told the Post he agreed to a March 28 urinalysis because he had already escaped detection in a December encounter with Tampa police, leading him to believe he would not be caught. The paper said Gooden had taken cocaine only two days before being pulled over by police, but passed a test for drugs and alcohol.

"So I thought I'd be okay in spring training, too," the paper quoted Gooden. "I was shocked. In fact, when Frank {Cashen, Mets general manager} told me the tests had come back positive, I thought it was an April Fool's joke. It was a pretty terrible thing. I had to go home, tell my parents and then I had to go to Smithers. And that was an incredible experience."