Drugs in Sport

Watching England in the Rugby, Matt Stevens has just come on, now he got banned for taking cocaine a few years ago but i presume as this is not deemed a "performance enhancing" drug is allowed back into the sport.

I'm not sure how this sits with me, suppose it's like Christine Ohurugo (sp) who missed the drug test rather than failed it.

Should getting banned for drugs mean a life ban??


  • I think so, role models an all that.
  • Yes if the technology is such that there can be no doubt about it

    but this never seems to happen

  • I know too many people who have taken recreational drugs to say that it should be a lifetime ban. I haven't - don't even do alcohol - but in an area of high deprivation (where I was brought up and where I now work) drugs are so common that people barely register that taking them is differnet from having a drink or a cup of coffee in the morning.

    It's very sad but it's just how it is. Yes, these athlete should know better but they didn't become pro's because of their intellect or judgement skills.
  • Most sportsmen/women at their best are young. Given the short time-span between training without parental supervision and reaching their best LOOK at the physiques of some. I am assuming normal parents would not allow their children 'substances'. (I am aware it is not only about physique and that 'banned' does not necessarily make it illegal).

    My view is that many sportspeople have been assisted at some point by 'substances' though I doubt on a long-term basis. At least long enough to get their young bodies able to cope with the training required or after illness/injury. I think it is likely at the illness/injury or recovery point that many have been found out.

    I do not believe that many are unaware of what they take or that many coaches mess with the nutrition without the knowledge of their protege. Accidents or mistakes are fewer than many would have us believe and that is an argument for lawyers' and breach of human rights etc.

    I think it is the responsibility of the athlete full stop. If they use certain people to aid them they must trust what those people are doing and in my book that is consent. 

    Banned drug means banned athlete!

  • Difference between a performance enhancing drug and a performance enhancing nutritional additive?  Between an enhancing pharmaceutical and a medicinal pharmaceutical?  Caffeine was not long ago on the IAAF banned list but is now in Lucozade.  Phenylephrine and Pseudoephidrine are banned (still, I think) in the US but are in drugs which can be bought over the counter in the UK.  Where's the line?  And if it keeps changing all the time, how do you police it?

    If you can have clean sports, have clean sports.  Once a drug is firmly bedded onto the list of banned substances and every test is clean, safe, correct and repeatable, then use of that drug should result in a ban, and I'm happy with a lifetime one.  But if the lines keep being redrawn then I wouldn't be happy with a lifetime ban for someone taking a legitimate cold remedy in Estonia and getting banned in Spain.

    If you can't have clean sports, then don't bother!  Allow athletes to take whatever drugs they wish.  The playing field will be level again, and it's up to the athlete how much damage they wish to tolerate for a moment of personal glory.  Or how much damage they wish to tolerate for not quite ever reaching that moment of personal glory... that'll learn 'em.

  • There is an argument for separate' legal drug' assisted sports competition. I think that  there is concern that many young people would be attracted to such a lifestyle and damage themselves or be damaged by parents and coaches. You can imagine the money and interest from the pharmaceutical world.

    I am not yet ready to be captivated by the five second chemical soup 100m world record.

    I agree about moving the goal posts but you are banned on the rules pertaining at the time of competition. I would have no qualms about reinstating an athlete subsequent to a rule change granted some might no longer be competitive.

    Slightly different in my view is cheating such as Katrine Krabbe  switching urine samples - lifetime ban no way back! 

  • There's a programme on C4 on Monday about football clubs and the FA suppressing positive drugs tests of top flight footballers, though judging by the advert it's more to do with recreational drugs (ad looks like someone doing a line of coke).

    Remember when the Balco scandal broke - it only happened because a rival coach (was it Marion Jones' ex coach?) sent a sample of the new steroid to the American doping bod, so they were able to invent a test for it. If that example tells us anything it's that there are enough people willing to invent new, undetectable drugs and enough athletes willing to take them to ensure that there will always be an unknown percentage of sportsmen/women who are not playing by the rules. Flo Jo never returned a positive drugs test either yet there's significant circumstantial evidence to suggest not all was above board there - so her records still stand, perhaps unfairly.

    In some ways I feel it would level the playing field to get rid of banned substances in sport - let athletes take what they want and watch someone run a mile in 2 minutes... it would be one hell of a spectacle! But then it becomes more about which lab is 'supporting' the athlete, and more of a freak show (bearded lady anyone?) than a proper athletic competition.

    As for lifetime bans, I'd give them another chance on the provision that they are required to submit to drugs test on a significantly more regular basis.
  • I think that cocaine could arguably be called a performance enhancing drug for Rugby when feeling invicible could be a good thing (can imagine it also being a bad thing).

    I work in the same building as people who do drug tests for sportsmen and women, and they are incredibly careful about how they do their tests, particularly since one of the tests they did led to the sportsperson involved committing suicide. It really shook up the person who'd done and signed off the tests, they were second guessing themselves for quite a while, wondering if they'd made a mistake and ruined someone's career.

    I think ultimately they should be banned for a significant period of time and submit to both blood and urine tests on a regular basis (more frequently than people who haven't been found out). If only to help them rebuid people's trust in them.

  • I don't have a problem with it being 2 years - I do have more of a problem with federations giving slightly shorter bans so their athletes can come back in time for the world championships like LaShawn Merritt.  I think a life ban straight off is too severe - second offence that would be it.   

     You can't really have a separate drug assisted event for a couple of reasons.   One is that most of the athletes would have to take such an amount of drugs they'd die early - in some cases very early.   The other reason is that it would do nothing to stop the majority of drug cheating in the "clean" event. 

    If you just said anything goes in sport you'd be saying if you want to be a pro athlete you have to be taking half the contents of a chemists shop - not really fair on people who want a career in sport without killing themselves.   

  • agree with popsiderimage
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