Challenges to promoting health for amateur athletes through anti-doping policy

April Henning*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Anti-doping regulations are intended, at least in part, to promote the health of athletes. While most anti-doping efforts target elite and professional competitors, there have been recent moves by sport governing bodies to expand anti-doping testing to include amateur athletes. Drawing on previous critiques of anti-doping policies and illustrating cases, this article outlines five of the challenges to health promotion of applying the current detect and ban model to the amateur level of sport. I argue that the current approach is not effective and, in some ways, may undermine the goal of health promotion at the amateur level. In order to address these challenges, I propose alternative, health-centred strategies that focus on athlete empowerment and choice through critical awareness of a variety of substances, associated risks and rewards, and the role of expertise in decision-making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)306-313
Number of pages8
JournalDrugs: Education, Prevention, and Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 4 May 2017


  • amateur
  • Anti-doping
  • health
  • sport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)


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