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THE "MONT BLANC TUNNEL DRUGS HAUL"….WHAT ARE THEY?


To give an idea of what athletes are willing to put themselves through in the interests of glory and/or success, we have attempted to list the main risks/side-effects of the drugs found. In addition, one has to ask whether these drugs were all intended for use by only one person, as many of them would have identical effects, and the combined use of several of the drugs would be enough to kill an Elephant! Most worryingly, is the fact that some of the drugs are extremely rare, and haven't even gone through a full Licence application, so are "experimental" and therefore highly risky. It also indicates how far illegal drug use stays ahead of the testing procedures.

Here we attempt to list the drugs in "pharmacological" categories, ie Steroids, Hormones, Insulin, and "others".

STEROIDS: These can be divided into Glucocorticoid steroids (ones used to suppress inflammation) and anabolic or hormonal steroids (like testosterone, androgens, etc.) The list of side-effects with even moderate doses of Steroids is horrendous. It is of little surprise that prescribers have to consider carefully the risk/benefit of steroid treatment before using them.

Thinking of doping with steroids?

Here are a few of the common side-effects:

Osteoporosis, and decreased Calcium levels
Increased Blood sugar, high diabetes risk
Incresaed 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.

Two of the drugs found were Glucocorticoid steroids: Betnelan (Betamethasone) and Kenacort (triamcinolone). These are permitted by the IOC only by topical, inhaled or local/intra-articular injection. As Betnelan is a tablet, it is definitely banned. Both are Prescription drugs.

Hormonal (anabolic or androgenic) Steroids:
Most side-effects relate to "masculinisation" and include blood Calcium increases, bone growth (often excessive, seen in the jaw in long-term users) , increased risk of Prostate Cancer, Brain (inrtracranial) pressure increases, fluid retention, and changes in mineral levels like Potassium and Calcium. Less common are effects like depression, gynaecomastia (Breast growth!) and severe headache/nausea .

Growth Hormones and their analogues

Arguably the most abused and the least detected from of doping so far in sport. This is because Growth Hormone is a naturally occurring agent, that fluctuates in normal life anyway, and therefore artificial doping of the hormone is hard to detect. There is hope however, that a urine test for HGH (Human growth Hormone) will be available soon. In addition, many new drugs are Growth Hormone Releasing agents, and simply stimulate the body to release and produce more of its own hormone. Three of the drugs found come into this category: Growth Hormone itself, Geref (Sermorelin) and Norditropin. The biggest risks of Growth Hormones is they may promote growth of tumours, eg Prostate and others. Diabetes, and low thyroid activity can be caused by them.

 

Insulin
Commonly available for the treatment of Diabetes Mellitus, most insulin is non-human and therefore detectable, but only with difficulty. Insulin lowers blood sugars by promoting the storage of sugar as Glycogen, a ready-to release store, which converts back during exercise.

The biggest risk with Insulin is a critical drop in blood sugar levels, (Hypoglycaemia) leading to convulsions, brain damage, and in extreme cases, sudden death.

TAD 600 is a very strange compound, not yet on the Pharmaceutical Licensed market, and is alleged to be a "liver-flushing" agent, designed to "detox" the liver. It MAY have been intended to use this to mask the presence in the liver of banned substances.

Voltarene is a Brand-name of Diclofenac, an anti-inflammatory drug. Its use is permitted in sport.

Finally, a Homeopathic type medicine containing Belladonna (Deadly nightshade) was also found. This drug MAY reduce urine output, but the drug has been known to be toxic (causing death) even at doses as low as 100mg in adults, but overdoses of even 1000mg have been treated successfully. It is hard to imagine what benefit this drug would have in athletes. The list is horrifying, and suggests the supply chain of these drugs is vast, and those receiving are not isolated individuals. Most depressing is the fact athletes are willing to use what are often life-threatening doses of extremely dangerous compounds to try to win competitions. In addition, there are people willing to supply these, even prescribe them in some cases, and others only too willing to cash in on the supply. There is no point calling for "open" policy on doping, as athletes would just get worse, and people would die. The only hope is that we see more testing, more information/education, and most of all more enforcement like that shown by the French police, so that despite their own best efforts, athletes may be protected from themselves and their friends (so-called).