The new front in the war on doping: Amateur athletes

April D. Henning*, Paul Dimeo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The war on drugs is usually associated with criminal policies aimed at stemming consumption of drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and cannabis, less so with enhancement drugs like those used in sport. As drug use in sport, or doping, has become more visibly widespread, policies aimed at combating the issue have become more restrictive, intrusive, and harsh. In this article we draw new comparisons between the wider war on drugs and recent developments in sports anti-doping. We identify a growing trend towards criminalisation of traffickers and users, and associate that with another growing trend: the testing of amateur athletes. This article reviews the current anti-doping system, including the recent amateur policies, then considers of the results of one such program in amateur cycling. We then shift to consider the possible implications for amateurs of criminal doping laws and the recent debates about allowing medical exemptions for therapeutic use of banned substances. We show that drug use in sport can be understood as a new front in the war on drugs, with some extreme measures and many negative unintended consequences. To remedy this, we argue that amateur athletes require a separate anti-doping policy focused on minimising harms of use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-136
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Drug Policy
Volume51
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2018

Keywords

  • Amateur
  • Doping
  • Health
  • Sport

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health Policy

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