According to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), doping is the administration or use by an athlete of any foreign or physiological substance taken in abnormal quantities or via abnormal channels with the sole intention of artificially and dishonestly increasing performance capacity in competition
When a particular substance is needed for medical treatment and that substance, due to its nature dose or application, increases the athlete’s performance in competition artificially and dishonestly this is also considered as doping.
To implement this concept, the IOC has published a list of banned substances and has developed a programme of drug detection for the Olympic Games. It has also developed appropriate competencies to prevent the use of these substances.
WHY DOES DOPING EXIST?
The appearance and spread of doping is due in large part to factors external to the essence of sport such as the present trend towards drug abuse and the pressure placed on athletes by society, which demands continuous improvement in their sporting performances. In present-day society, medicine is used not only to combat illness but also as an aid in extreme physiological states (tiredness, pain, exhaustion, anxiety, frustration, and so on). The sports person also turns to them for stimulation or sedation, increasing strength and muscle mass, increased cardiac capacity, concentration and relieving fatigue, even that caused by training. In essence, they use doping to obtain triumph or to achieve it with less effort.
Both recreational or amateur sport and competitive sport play a prominent role in modern society. The professionalism driven by companies and television channels leads sportspeople to tremendous feats and constant improvement. With the expectation of enormous material rewards, athletes join this unbridled race and because it is hard for them to keep this rhythm up using natural methods, they turn to doping. There are also amateur or recreational sportspeople who are led astray by hundreds of products making promises about helping them to practise sport more intensely or obtain results which otherwise they would not; results they are often feverishly seeking for reasons of personal or social prestige.
METHODS OF CONTROL
One of the principle advances in the fight against doping has been the implementation of blood tests to detect the presence of eritropoyetine (EPO), most commonly used in cycling, skiing and athletics. The International Federation of Sports Medicine maintains that it would be desirable if these tests were used in many other sports such as football (where only urine testing is carried out).
Urine testing is the main institutional method of anti-doping control in order to reveal and, if pertinent, sanction the presence of doping substances in sportspeople. It has proved effective in detecting exogenous substances which the human body is incapable of synthesizing. This includes the majority of stimulants, narcotics, steroids, anabolic steroids and diuretics. Nevertheless, urine tests do not identify the dosage of endogenous substances and is totally ineffective for doping carried out through self-transfusion of blood. The IOC classification allows for limited use of everyday substances (such as caffeine, alcohol and certain anaesthetics or anti-inflammatories) but these also count as doping if they exceed the permitted dosage. Due to increasingly frequent anti-doping checks, sportspeople prefer to use hormonal products (corticoids, steroids, testerone or dihydrotesterone) which already exist in the body and whose concentration is hard to quantify in tests. Faced with the growing use of products and numbers of doping methods in high level sport, governments are organizing prevention campaigns aimed at federations and young sportspeople. They inform them of the physical dangers and ever more severe sanctions to which they are exposing themselves. Moreover, in competition, testing has been systematized and may now be carried out without warning and at random.
WHY SHOULD WE FIGHT IT?
Competitive sport is an example of an activity which inevitably compares each participant with his or her adversaries. It also demands constant improvement to become the best. However, these aspirations lose all legitimacy when the means of achieving them become dangerous, violent or unethical. Doping falls into one or more of these categories, which is why its use is banned.
• Ethical reasons
Doping is a piece which does not fit into the sporting jigsaw. Its practice is contrary to ethics and sporting loyalty. In effect, if one of the aims of practising sport is the all-round development of the sportsperson with freedom and dignity, the appearance of doping negates that purpose because its practice corrupts the sportsperson. It converts him or her into an object which is used and manipulated, a machine that has to be amortized in the short term and, as such, has to perform to the limit of its capacity.
Apart from the above, doping is dishonest because it contradicts the main purpose of sport, which is to achieve greater physical, mental and social health.
• Health reasons
It is potentially dangerous for health for five reasons. Firstly, it exposes the organism to the risk of fatally exceeding its normal limits. Secondly, it alters the normal coordination of organic and psychic functions. Thirdly, it can lead to a progressive dependency on and even addiction to the use of drugs. Next, it encourages a certain dereliction of obligation to methodical training and finally, it causes possibly irreversible physical deterioration.
• As a violence-prevention measure
Doping can be a trigger for violence in sport. Generally speaking, sport is relaxing but competition brings stress, which can turn sport into a very tense activity. If we add the use of drugs which increase aggression to that mix, the result can be bodily attack or assault.
BANNED SUBSTANCES IN SPORT
The following categories of substances are banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC):
• Beta blockers
• Anabolic steroids
• Peptidic steroids and derivatives
The following doping methods are also banned:
• Blood doping
• Pharmacological, physical and chemical manipulation of urine
The following substances are subject to certain restrictions:
Certain federations have their own lists of banned substances. They should be checked to see whether there are other substances banned in the sport concerned.
BANNED SUBSTANCES IN SPORT (TABLE)
Fenilafrine (3). Cathine (2).
Fenilpropanolamine (2). Clorprenalin.
Heptaminol. Efedrina (2).
Metilefedrine (2). Etamivan.
Orciprenaline. Fenilefrine (3).
Pentetrazol. Fenilpropanolamine (2).
Prophilhexedrine (2). Heptaminol.
Pseudofedrine (2). Isoprenaline.
Salbutamol (4). Metilefedrine (2).
Salmeterol (4). Metoxamine.
Terbutaline (4). Niquetamide.
Terbutaline (4). Orciprenaline.
Salmeterol (4). Pentetrazol.
Salbutamol (4). Procaterol.
Pseudofedrine (2). Prophilhexedrine.
Morphine (1). Buprenorphine.
Pentazocine. Diamorphine (heroin).
Stimulants (type B). The pharmacological group “Stimulants(Type B)” is
made up of amphetaminic stimulants and any other substance whose action
or pharmacological effect is the same as or similar to any of the following:
Mephentermine. Anphepramone (dietilpropion)
II.1.2 Anabolic Steroids
Androgenic anabolic steroids (type B).
Hydroclorothiazide. Etacrynic acid.
Manitol (2). Bendroflumethiazide.
Having looked one by one at the many issues surrounding drug use in sport, we can draw the following conclusions.
As we have seen, doping is the use of substances with the aim of increasing through non-natural methods the physical performance of an individual in a sporting competition or activity.
In many cases these substances can put the life of the person who consumes them at risk and in addition, it harms other people if we are talking about team sports such as football. Talking of the most popular sport in the world, we cannot fail to mention the case of Diego Maradona. In the 1994 World Cup in The USA, he took or was made to take – it was never revealed – a substance which would supposedly cure him of a cold, a well-known substance called ephedrine. When he was detected in an anti-doping test – how can we forget his departure from the pitch in the match against Nigeria, that nurse at his side – he was thrown out of the tournament and given a one-year suspension from playing any kind of match.
The reason we highlight this case is that because of doping, Maradona harmed his team-mates. Argentina had a struggle to get through the group round and were eliminated in the last 16. This would almost certainly not have happened with Diego in the team.
That is why, before committing the act of doping, one has to think hard about the consequences it will cause. By doing so, the idea of doping oneself will certainly disappear.
Those of us involved in this work would like to leave a clear message to those who are just entering the world of sport.
The best triumph is what we achieve through our own efforts and not those provided by a simple substance.
Source: Raul Berneri.