«Anti-Doping and grassroots sport A production of Play by the Rules In cooperation with © Play by the Rules 2015 The content of this ebook is ...»
Simon: if you decide you want to go and procure these sort of things, you can get access to the market internationally and use web-based functions to actually pay for this stuff. 20 years ago, if I wanted to send money overseas, I’d have to go to the bank and get some sort of international transfer. It was clunky. It was cumbersome and easily tracked. Nowadays, if you have a PayPal account, you can do it all on your smartphone. You can buy it, pay for it, get it shipped to you, on your phone. So, that’s a big driver of some of the changes. The accessibility of these substances is higher than it used to be.
Another change is globalization, and it ties hand-in-hand with some of the technological drivers. The world’s a smaller place than it was 20 years ago. Borders are less meaningful than they used to be. We have trade agreements. It’s easy to travel. It’s cheap to travel. Not every jurisdiction shares the same laws that we do, with regards to some of these banned substances. You might go to Thailand, and what you can get over the counter in Thailand at a pharmacy there will be a lot easier to get your hands on than substances here that might be well-restricted, and you might only get if you have a prescription for them.
And there is some evidence that people will go overseas to have little doping holidays, train hard, get the substances they need, because you can just go to a pharmacy and acquire it with no questions asked, get the training effect you’re looking for, and then come back home.
The third trend I’ll talk about is image. Now, we’re a more image-conscious society than perhaps we were in the past. You look at the amount of gyms that proliferate, the amount of supplement stores. Anecdotally, I know, when I came through the police college in 2001, four o’clock on a Friday afternoon, most of the recruits would have been in the inhouse bar. Now, when I worked in the college again as a trainer for three years recently, Friday afternoon at four o’clock, maybe half of the recruits would be in the bar. The other half would be working out in the gym and being diligent about, I guess, getting bigger or working aerobically. So, that’s a trend and a change that I saw in only 10 to 15 years taking place, which I guess points to wider societal changes. So, with those image-conscious changes, some of the substances that you use to enhance your images are also banned substances that enhance performance on the sports fields.
And the last one I’ll talk about, in terms of environmental drivers, is the medicalisation of society. We dope to live nowadays. If you think about all the sorts of things that we naturally are more inclined to take than we used to, just to put up with ailments that, in the past, we may have just lived with or not done too much about—Viagra—we take aspirin 8 Keeping sport safe, fair and inclusive to thin our blood—Ritalin for other disorders with children—antidepressants—we take a lot of substances just to go about our normal lives. OK, so with that change in philosophy, sometimes it’s taking us closer to that decision point, for some people, whether they dope or not, because the whole philosophy of taking substances, perhaps, is different to what it was 20 years ago. So, perhaps that decision to dope or not has become a bit more of a gray area for some people—not everyone.
IIn terms of some of the trends that those drivers are causing, if you look at this chart, that’s the customs seizures of performance- or image-enhancing drugs at the border. So, these are things like parcel post seizures, things coming in through the mail, that they may detect substances in those that aren’t permissible to import. They’ll open them up and seize those items. So, these are just the detections. You can see, between 2003 and 2013, in that 10year period, PED seizures at the borders went up 600%. So, we can see that, with that trend, a lot of those seizures might be related to image-enhancement reasons. They might be occupationally related. It might be security industry people, OMCGs, etc., importing drugs because, occupationally, it might be better for you as a doorman to have size, etc. But part of that 6,000, I know for a fact, will be people involved in sports, looking to import steroids or other image- and performance-enhancing drugs for an athletic benefit.
And that’s just the detections. Hand-in-hand with that, once it’s in the border, and people have imported it successfully, we know that jurisdictionally, arrests in that same 10-year period for things like steroids have gone up 500%. So, these substances are more prevalent throughout society, more accessible, because of those reasons we spoke of. And hand-inhand with that, more sports people will be using these things. And most participants in sport aren’t elite sports. It’s at the sub-elite and community levels.
So, why dope? This comes back to one of those original three questions I asked. Ambition— I’ll tell you a little anecdote. We had a rugby league player, sub-elite level rugby league player. He was tested and tested positive for an old-school steroid. We sent the investigators out, and we asked him, “OK, you’ve been caught doping. There’s no question about that.
Why did you take that substance?” His explanation as to why he decided to dope and go Play by the Rules down that path was because he wanted to make that next level, and he had the ambition to get the next level. And part of his rationalization was that, in trying to get to that next level, he could get rid of the two part-time jobs that were taking up 50 hours of his week, because once he got a contract at the next level, he would have enough financial stability to ditch his part-time jobs. He’d have the club’s support behind him. And then, he wouldn’t need to dope at that point. So, his ambition led him to doping, and his rationalization was that he wouldn’t do it forever. Once he had that contract, and he had the full support of the club and the game behind him, he could focus more on his training and focus more on getting his head above all the other people that he was competing with to get that contract.
Opportunity – this ties straight back to the accessibility of this stuff. The Internet has created the opportunity for people, and given them a decision that perhaps 20 years ago, they didn’t even have to ask themselves, because steroids weren’t accessible to them.
Now, they are. If you look on a website, any website that sells this stuff, you potentially can get your hands on it. So, people have a question to ask themselves that wasn’t relevant 20 years ago.
Esteem – there’s a good book called The Doper Next Door. It was written by a journalist, a U.S. journalist, who happened to also be a middle-aged amateur cyclist. And he spent a year doping in order to write his book and talk about his experiences as an amateur cyclist who was doping. And he articulated that, even in pretty meaningless amateur cycling, age-group-based cycling races, the results that he was able to take from those races, which, in the big scheme of things—he’s not racing for show stations, but in terms of his own self-esteem, his performances and results had a disproportionate effect on his own selfesteem. Now, winning feels good. It doesn’t matter what level you’re doing it at. Achieving your goals feels good. And if you’re participating in sport and you have goals, and there’s a shortcut to get there, some people will, unfortunately, take that shortcut to achieve those goals, because it has an effect on your self-esteem.
Image – I’ll give you another little anecdote. Another sports person tested positive to clembuterol, and it was at the sub-elite level, bordering on the community level, so not particularly someone who was going to make the elite level. And he tested positive to clembuterol. We went out and asked him why he tested positive to clembuterol—”Why did you decided to take clembuterol?” His actual reasoning for taking it wasn’t sports-related, even though he was playing a sport. His taking clembuterol was incidental to that. His real motivation for taking it was an end-of-season trip to Barley, where he knew he would be walking around the beaches with his shirt off, looking to pick up girls over there, wanted to look good alongside his mates, so he wanted to shed a few kilos and put on a little bit of muscle in the same process. So, his entire process and rationalization was image-based, rather than sports-based. At the end of the day, though, because it was a performance effect with such a substance, he found himself out of sport for a couple of years. But his motivation was image-based.
And last of all, lack of awareness, inadvertent doping—Gary will talk a little bit more about supplements in a couple of presentations’ time, but this isn’t an issue confined to 10 Keeping sport safe, fair and inclusive sub-elite sports, but inadvertent doping can go all the way up to Olympians. There are a couple of Welsh Olympians in the last 12 months who found themselves out of sport, and actually missed their home commonwealth games, because they took supplements that they thought were safe. Unfortunately, those supplements were contaminated.
They tested positive to a banned substance, and they unfortunately were ruled out of the commonwealth games. Despite years and years of training, poor risk analysis in their judgment of the supplements they were taking led them to be banned from the sport and miss such a high-profile event, which they’d obviously trained for many years. They were Olympians. So, if you can make that mistake with all the training and advice that you get at that level, it’s quite likely, at the sub-elite level, you can dope inadvertently by taking contaminated supplements or taking a substance legitimately, that you’ve been prescribed, without realizing it’s on the banned list.
“ It was about being relevant to the group, which was pretty addicting … The sport is allconsuming … I was only involved in it for four ” years, and it took over most of my energy I’ll just leave you with that quote, which is from Andrew Tillen, the man who wrote The Doper Next Door. And that was one of the reasons why it comes back to your self-esteem and why he chose to dope. But I will hand it over to Michelle. Michelle is our director of engagement, works hand-in-hand with sports, and she’ll talk about some of the things we can collaborate on you with to overcome some of the challenges that I’ve just spoken of.
Play by the Rules Michelle Heins: OK, all right. Thanks, Simon. So, thank you, everyone, for coming today. It’s a really good opportunity for us to have a chat to state supporting organizations. I know, with my role—I’m the director of sports engagement—we deal very closely with national sporting organizations, but it’s really important that we engage with you guys, as well, as you’re right down there in the thick of things.
So, just a little bit about me—I’ve been with ASADA for almost seven years now. I also spent a year over in the UK, working for UK anti-doping, the lead-up to London 2012, as they were setting up their anti-doping program there. And I think it’s fair to say that a lot of issues that we’re seeing here at the sub-elite level were also issues that we were seeing in the UK at the time, and currently, as well. As well as sports engagement, I also look after engagement more widely, so international engagement. I run the testing program, our education program, athlete services—we have a therapeutic use exemption committee, as well, as well as the engagement. So, it’s a fairly busy role, and I work very closely with Simon and his team, and also the investigations team, to make sure that we develop and implement integrated programs.
So, in terms of what I’ll be talking to you about today, Simon’s given you a really good overview of the issues that we’re seeing at the sub-elite level. I’d like to run through some of the ways in which you can respond to these issues, particularly around education, but a few other areas, as well. But before I do that, I wanted to just give you a better understanding of the anti-doping framework, both here in Australia and internationally, and how ASADA is set up to respond to those issues.
So, in terms of the framework, most of you are working with sports who have an antidoping policy in place. Has everybody seen the anti-doping policy that your sport has? A couple of you have. So, we have around about 130 approved anti-doping policies. Sports 12 Keeping sport safe, fair and inclusive are responsible for them. And they were recently updated, and came into effect from the first of January. Now, they are fairly significant documents. They are all about 80 pages long, and they set out the responsibilities of the sport athletes and support personnel, as well as some of the responsibilities for ASADA, in terms of anti-doping. And those documents have a clear line of sight through our legislation up to the World Anti-Doping Code, which I think Paul put up on the screen earlier. That’s this document. This is our Bible. We carry it around with us everywhere. As you can see, I’ve brought it along with me today.
Along with the code, which is developed by the World Anti-Doping Agency to harmonize anti-doping programs internationally, there are also a number of international standards like the International Standard for Testing and Investigations. There’s an International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions. There’s also the Prohibited List. Has anyone heard of the Prohibited List? Again, just a couple of people. That’s a really important document, so if you’re getting any questions about your members, about what they can and can’t take, the Prohibited List, which is on the WADA website, is a really good place to go, because that sets up the classifications of prohibited substances and methods. So, that will give you a really good understanding of what you can and can’t take in sport.
We also have, of course, legislation in Australia. We have the ASADA act, as well as the National Anti-Doping Scheme. And that legislation really drives how we deliver our antidoping program in Australia. But what I think is really important, and as Paul mentioned earlier—the stick is not the only approach that we can use. We really need the help of organizations, sports, government, to help us to make sure that we’re protecting the integrity of sport in Australia.