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ANTI DOPING DRUGS IN SPORTS

On Saturday 22nd March, the Camogie Committee of the GAA launched their excellent new booklet on anti-doping rules, procedures, and included a checklist of medicines safe to take in common illnesses. The booklet is one of the most up to date, as it includes the new changes introduced on Jan 1st removing Phenylephrine from the banned list, and thereby making life easier for any NI competitors. Many products like some of the LEMSIP range have Phenylephrine in the UK and NI versions, but not in the Irish ones, and up until now there was a real worry that a player could be banned by assuming Lemsip is the same throughout the whole country. There still are many reasons to be careful, even when going from South to North, but many less than last year.


Sports-drugs.com Pharmacist, Brendan Quinn was invited to talk at the seminar in the famous stadium, and a lively debate ensued about the rules, and testing in/out of competition.Two excellent videos provided by the Irish Sports Council were shown to demonstrate just how easy it is to take the wrong product, even while shopping, socializing or partying, but also to dispel the many myths of testing procedures. Surprisingly during the video, one important procedure was missed : the taking of the Specific Gravity of the urine before signing off the samples for testing. (If urine is too "thin" athletes may have to give another sample)

Over the counter (OTC) products still cause the most worry, but many concerns were also expressed about the "huge responsibility" carried by a Club or County Doping Control officer. The necessity of a Club Doping representative to be at almost every training session and match is very demanding on an amateur volunteer, often with little or no Medical or Legal knowledge. In addition the necessity to report "whereabouts" prior to training so that out of competition testing may be done means the very sociable tendency of some counties to do "visit" training sessions on different club pitches throughout the county may soon become impractical.Related: Drugs in Sports

Dr Eileen Naughton expressed her concern at the extensive "half-lives" of DECONGESTANT products in particular, meaning a player can test positive even up to 4 WEEKS after taking it only once! Such decongestants are very common in cold remedies like Sudafed, Actifed, Nurofen Cold+Flu, Advil cold + flu..etc.

Under-age players from 16-18 years in GAA are tested on a VOLUNTARY basis, and the parents are asked to sign a consent form to permit testing. If we are going to encourage safe and clean sport, they must be discouraged from doping, and it is this age group which is most at risk if they take illegal or banned drugs, voluntarily or inadvertently. Many irreversible side-effects can occur from adolescent steroid use, and something must be done to discourage it. It is possible for a player to refuse to be tested in 16-18 y.o. competition, but it's not advised, for their own safety. The Irish Sports Council reports today (2nd April) on their year's activities, and we look forward to seeing the results of their extensive efforts on antidoping in Ireland.. more on this as we receive it.

Thinking of doping with steroids? Here are a few common side-effects:

Osteoporosis, and decreased Calcium levels

Increased Blood sugar, high diabetes risk

Increased Fat deposit, especially on face, shoulders and back

Necrosis ("rotting") of Femoral head (hip joint)

Increased risk of bone fractures

Protein and fat breakdown

Muscle wastage


Increased risk of infection, or "re-awakening" of dormant infections (like shingles, Chicken-pox, TB, etc..)

Personality changes. .aggression, paranoia, suicidal tendency, euphoria

Adrenal suppression, leading to very low ability to manage stress, and high risk of heart failure during stress

Co-ordination and Motor Skills. Prolonged use shows weak co-ordination and reflex's

First, the possession of these drugs, would be an offence even if they were not counterfeit. Nubain is a highly potent drug, which can only be handled by specific qualified persons, and patients themselves, and is normally used prior to anaesthesia. Why anyone would want to use a narcotic painkiller, especially an injectible one is almost beyond comprehension. Normally reserved for severe pain in terminal illness, or after an operation, the only other reasons to use them would be addiction, for a high, or to kill pain enough to "work out through the pain barrier".

This would be very dangerous indeed to an athlete as the Morphine-like drug would mask the sudden pain felt if an athlete tears a muscle, breaks a bone, or suffers any acute injury. In addition it would have other unwanted side effects like lowering the breathing rate, heart rate, and most of all, the ability to co-ordinate, and focus attention. So are they driving to and from the gym? Are they lifting heavy apparatus? Are they, and the people around them at risk?

The other injection ampoules available were counterfeit versions of Sustanon, a version of the male Anabolic Hormone Testosterone. The "short-list" of side-effects of Testosterone include: Prostate cancer, sexuality changes, breast growth in males, loss of fertility and libido, depression, anxiety, jaundice, baldness and bone-growth.