Negative impacts of Performance-enhancing drugs Health and safety in sport AQA GCSE Physical Education Revision AQA BBC Bitesize

In 1807, an endurance walker in Britain took laudanum to stay awake around the clock in a competition. Athletes who use different medication and have the consent of physicians should be careful to declare the use of such substances negative effects of drugs in sport so that if the athlete is positively detected with it, the authorities know that the substance is needed to improve their health condition. Activities that can give an athlete an unfair advantage are also banned.

negative effects of drugs in sport

These include (1) safety and well-being of the athlete, (2) fair competition and (3) integrity of sport. Anti-doping is a prohibitive, legalistic system of athlete-centred surveillance, testing, and sanctioning (de Hon, 2016; Mazanov, 2013). Globally, anti-doping efforts are led by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), the umbrella organisation responsible for policymaking and harmonisation (WADA, 2019). Doping is commonly understood as the use of prohibited performance enhancing substances or methods in sport.


Such dietary substances are available for purchase over the counter and online by persons of any age without prescription. Within the context of substance use treatment, there are several evidence-based medications and therapy methods that have been found to be effective for these disorders. Out of the present studies, very few have explored therapeutic techniques in athletes. Motivational interviewing (MI), Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and Contingency Management (CM) are implemented to increase motivation to decrease use and ultimately change their behaviors.

Further, if athletes are aware of their testing schedule, they may be able to organize their use around times when it would not trigger a positive test. Fear of a positive drug test almost certainly inhibits short-term drug use for some athletes, but the degree to which drug testing provides a more general impact on the substance use habits of athletes is more difficult to determine. Applying the heuristic developed by Rhodes (2002, 2009) to outline the factors and levels of environmental risk to the sport context illustrates several ways that sport and anti-doping policy create a risk environment that may produce doping behaviours (see Table 1
). Anti-doping policies are underpinned by a sport culture in which doping is positioned as an issue of both morality and health. Much like other prohibitive substance use policies, these policies also create their own set of risks for athletes. Indeed, many studies have identified the criminalisation of drug possession for recreational use as among the most damaging features of those risk environments, not least because such policies often preclude or limit the formation of enabling environments.


Overall, empirical support for these types of programs has been mixed, which is not surprising considering the diversity of approaches (Cronce & Larimer, 2011). The restricted access to many doping substances due to both sport and non-sport legal prohibitions in many places means doping athletes may also find it difficult to secure a safe supply of PEDs. Because of these restrictions, athletes are vulnerable to both detection and physical harms from poor quality substances.

negative effects of drugs in sport

Due to the fact that many sporting organizations already routinely test athletes for various substances, implementing such a program in certain athletic settings may be somewhat easier than the typical outpatient or inpatient clinic. Indeed, many organizations already have a punishment-related system affiliated with drug testing (e.g., suspensions for positive drug tests); a contingency management system would involve the reverse of this, where athletes received incentives for negative drug tests. Such a program would likely be most appropriate for athletes who have been experiencing fairly significant alcohol and drug problems and are attempting to eliminate their use of the substances. One other promising avenue for potential future treatment may involve the use of ketamine for substance use issues in athletes.

Risk and enabling environments in sport: Systematic doping as harm reduction

The Tour de France scandal highlighted the need for an independent, nonjudicial international agency that would set unified standards for anti-doping work and coordinate the efforts of sports organizations and public authorities. The IOC took the initiative and convened the First World Conference on Doping in Sport in Lausanne in February 1999. Following the proposal of the Conference, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established later in 1999. This resulted in a marked increase in the number of doping-related disqualifications in the late 1970s,24 notably in strength-related sports, such as throwing events and weightlifting. Another cultural aspect of sport that may relate to drinking behavior involves popularity and prestige. Athletes, particularly those who are successful and well-known, are often afforded higher social status than their peers, which can lead to significant social opportunities (Holland & Andre, 1994; Tricker, Cook, & McGuire, 1989).

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