Doping is often viewed as a crime committed by an individual. But the reality is that when an athlete takes illegal performance-enhancing drugs (PED), it is just one piece in a larger network of crime. Organizations and governments strictly impose anti-doping rules for the prevention of illegal activities in sports. Read here to learn more about anti-doping agencies.
Doping is the act of consuming artificial and often illegal substances to gain an advantage over others in sporting competitions (anabolic steroids, human growth hormones, stimulants, and diuretics for example).
The mass trafficking of performance-enhancing drugs has major consequences for public health.
Doping products are often illegally produced, trafficked, and distributed. As they are rarely approved for public use, their consumption is dangerous and poses a serious health risk to both professional and amateur sportspeople
The doping substances market is ‘low risk – high profit’, so it is increasingly attractive to organized crime groups worldwide.
Doping in sports
Victory in professional sports can be highly lucrative, increasing the motivation for players to take illegal performance enhancers, and for coaches, managers, and other officials to put pressure on them to do so.
The increase in the abuse of doping substances in elite sports is mirrored by a rise in the use of such substances in amateur and recreational sports and among young people.
The use of drugs to enhance performance is considered unethical and therefore prohibited, by most international sports organizations, including the International Olympic Committee.
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)
WADA was created to develop, harmonize and coordinate anti-doping rules and policies across all sports and countries.
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established in 1999. It is headquartered in Montreal, Canada
It was set up as a foundation under the initiative of the IOC with the support and participation of intergovernmental organizations, governments, public authorities, and other public and private bodies fighting doping in sport
It was formed under the terms of the Lausanne Declaration, which provided for the creation of an independent international anti-doping
The activities of WADA include:
- Ensuring and monitoring the effective implementation of the World Anti-Doping Code and its related International Standards.
- Scientific and social science research
- Intelligence and investigation
- Building antidoping capacity with anti-doping organizations worldwide.
An Intelligence and Investigations service operates independently within WADA to ensure confidentiality.
Objectives of WADA
- Overseeing acceptance, implementation, and compliance of the Code, the core document that glues together anti-doping policies, rules, and regulations worldwide
- Outlining preventative methods such as values-based education programs targeted at young athletes, coaches, doctors, training, and parents on the dangers and consequences of doping
- Coordinating anti-doping activities globally through the central clearinghouse Anti-Doping Administration & Management System (ADAMS)
- Spreading awareness about the impact of doping by interacting with athletes and their entourage
- Working closely with government, law enforcement, and Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs) to facilitate evidence-gathering and information sharing
World Anti-Doping Code
The World Anti-Doping Code (Code) is the core document that harmonizes anti-doping policies, rules, and regulations within sports organizations and among public authorities around the world.
It works in conjunction with eight International Standards which aim to foster consistency among anti-doping organizations in various areas.
These Standards are:
- The International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI)
- The International Standard for Laboratories (ISL)
- The International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions (ISTUE)
- The International Standard for the Prohibited List (The List)
- The International Standard for the Protection of Privacy and Personal Information (ISPPPI)
- The International Standard for Code Compliance by Signatories (ISCCS)
- The International Standard for Education (ISE)
- The International Standard for Results Management (ISRM)
WADA updates the prohibited list of doping agents regularly-The Prohibited list.
National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA)
National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) was set up as a registered society under the Societies Registration Act of 1860 on November 24, 2005, with a mandate for Dope-free sports in India.
The primary objectives are to implement anti-doping rules as per the WADA code, regulate dope control programs, promote education and research and create awareness about doping and its ill effects.
The NADA has the necessary authority and responsibility for:
- Planning, coordinating, implementing, monitoring, and advocating improvements in Doping Control;
- Cooperating with other relevant national organizations, agencies, and other Anti-Doping Organizations;
- Encouraging reciprocal Testing between National Anti-Doping Organizations;
- Promoting anti-doping research;
- Where funding is provided, withholding some or all funding, during any period of his or her ineligibility, to any Athlete or Athlete Support Personnel who has violated anti-doping rules;
- Vigorously pursuing all potential anti-doping rule violations within its jurisdiction including investigating whether Athlete Support Personnel or other Persons may have been involved in each case of doping.
- Planning, implementing, and monitoring anti-doping information and education programs.
The primary functions of NADA are as under:
- To implement the Anti-Doping Code to achieve compliance by all sports organizations in the Country.
- Coordinate the dope testing program through all participating stakeholders.
- To promote anti-doping research and education to inculcate the value of dope-free sports.
- To adopt best practice standards and quality systems to enable effective implementation and continual improvement of the program.
National anti-doping act, 2022
The National Anti-Doping Bill 2022 was passed to provide for the constitution of the NADA as a statutory body for regulating anti-doping activities in sports.
It is a landmark occasion when India joins the select group of countries that have their own National Anti-Doping Laws.
Statutory framework in the form of legislation for the prohibition of doping in sports and enforcing anti-doping activities in the country.
The proposed Bill intends to accomplish:
- Building institutional capabilities in anti-doping and enabling the hosting of major sports events;
- Protecting rights of all sportspersons;
- Ensuring time-bound justice to athletes;
- Enhancing cooperation among agencies in fighting doping in sports;
- Reinforcing India’s commitment to international obligations for clean sports;
- Independent mechanism for anti-doping adjudication;
- Providing legal sanctity to National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) & National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL);
- Establishing more Dope Testing Labs;
- Creating job opportunities both, directly & indirectly; and
- Creating opportunities for academic research, science, and manufacturing relating to Anti-Doping.
- Establishing standards for the manufacturing of nutritional supplements for sports in India.
The new Law will ensure the highest standards of integrity while participating and preparing for sports competitions, domestically and internationally.
Even after many efforts, many people vulnerable to performance-enhancing substance use are not reached by these prevention programs, especially adolescents outside an elite sport context.
One of the effective ways to prevent doping in sports is to educate the youth about the ill effects and related anti-doping laws and regulations.
The sporting authorities can make more efforts to promote clean sports and protect athletes from doping. The athletes should be given anti-doping education to understand doping prevention measures.
Doping preventive education should begin with a school-level athletes-for example- the United States has two gender-specific programs targeting high school athletes namely- ATLAS (Adolescents Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids) and ATHENA (Athletes Targeting Healthy Exercise and Nutrition Alternatives).
-Article written by Swathi Satish