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WADA & Recreational drugs

by RajaB

Couple of days back we received this question...

"Hi guys, could you possibly explain to me how recreational drugs can enhance performance? Unless, of course, the WADA means the other type of performance!" from Cricket Tragic.

To answer this question, let me quote what Dr Alain Garnier, Medical Director of WADA says in his open letter to those promoting medical supervision of doping.

"Regardless of whether drugs or methods used for doping purposes can effectively enhance performance, there exists no scientific evidence that such practices are healthy, particularly in the mid- and long-term. Depending on the nature of the substance used for doping, the athlete may be able to compete for a longer time, perform faster, tolerate higher workloads, or better withstand pain—but these are certainly far from beneficial to health. To illustrate this point, one should consider a question frequently asked of physicians: in case of injury or fever, what should the legitimate medical attitude be? In general medical practice, the answer is always clear. Why should it be any different in sport? Can one imagine a doctor prescribing amphetamines to a truck driver because he or she is too tired to continue driving?


For a list of banned substances as of 2009, click here

So recreational or otherwise, a drug is a drug. It could cause a great damage (to the user and to the society as a whole) in the long run. In an era where sportspeople are seen as role models, it is imperative they are clean. To ensure things are clean and tidy, we need a WADA and these regulations

16 comments:

Prafs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Prafs said...

good work, RajaB.
BCC!, putting the 'I' in information.

Homer said...

The following narcotics are prohibited:

Buprenorphine, dextromoramide, diamorphine (heroin), fentanyl and its derivatives, hydromorphone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone, oxymorphone, pentazocine, pethidine

Morphine can be used:

* as an analgesic in hospital settings to relieve
o pain in myocardial infarction
o pain in sickle cell crisis
o pain associated with surgical conditions, pre- and postoperatively
o pain associated with trauma
* in the relief of severe chronic pain, e.g.,
o cancer
o pain from kidney stones (renal colic, ureterolithiasis)
o severe back pain
* as an adjunct to general anesthesia
* in epidural anesthesia or intrathecal analgesia
* for palliative care (i.e., to alleviate pain without curing the underlying reason for it, usually because the latter is found impossible)
* as an antitussive for severe cough
* in nebulized form, for treatment of dyspnea, although the evidence for efficacy is slim.[12] Evidence is better for other routes.[13]
* as an antidiarrheal in chronic conditions (e.g., for diarrhea associated with AIDS, although loperamide (a non-absorbed opioid acting only on the gut) is the most commonly used opioid for diarrhea).

So lets understand this - If I am an athlete, my anesthetist obviously has to give me a chemical breakdown of the anesthesia he or she has to administer following which I have to seek an Therapeutic Use Exemption before the said anesthesia can be administered. If not, WADA can stick a cathether and prove me in violation of the Drug code.

Also, the TUE is subject to the "International Standard on therapeutic use".

Talking of International Standards, As of 2006, quinine is no longer recommended by the WHO as first line treatment for malaria and should only be used when artemesinins are not available However ChloroQuinine and ParaQuinine are the first doses recommended in case of malaria in India!

So if the concoction that was used in my anesthesia does not pass said International standard, I am fucked!

Wah WADA!

Fun fun fun!

Cheers

Cricket Tragic said...

Thanks, dude, for the explanation.

But, frankly, it is up to people to control themselves from using recreational drugs...athletes aren't small children to be told by a supervisory body what's good and what's not for them!

RajaB said...

@ Prafs: Thanks !!

@ Homer: It has become a fashion these days (thanks to the trigger happy media) to jump into conclusions before we read up. Let me take the risk of upsetting you by saying, you have just done that mate !!

I'm not going to argue on the composition or the usage of drugs you have listed, hats off to your knowledge.

Where you fall flat is when you come to a conclusion that administration of these at a time of need (a surgery etc.) would get you into trouble. In such difficult situations the athlete would be exempt from the ban according to WADA.

http://www.wada-ama.org/en/dynamic.ch2?pageCategory.id=836

@ Cricket Tragic: If we buy your argument then what is the need for all the countries around the world to spend a hell of a lot of money on narcotics control / policing and de-addiction clinics ?

It is black or white in this case... Right or Wrong !!

Cricket Tragic said...

@RajaB

Mmmm...you're right...it really all depends on a matter of opinion!

Homer said...

Raja,

If you had cared to read up,the criteria for granting a TUE clearly states

" There is no reasonable therapeutic alternative to the use of the otherwise prohibited substance or method."

In the case of morphine, an argument can be made that a different concoction of opiads could have been used instead, which thereby disqualifies the athlete from the TU exemption.

Likewise, non compliance with the "International Standard on Therapeutic use" can be cited to call some one a drug cheat.

Thats my point.

"Where you fall flat is when you come to a conclusion that administration of these at a time of need (a surgery etc.) would get you into trouble. In such difficult situations the athlete would be exempt from the ban according to WADA." - thats your conclusion, not mine.

Cheers,

RajaB said...

@ Homer: Let me explain, the first thing any WADA complient athlete and his doctor do is to check up what is right and what is wrong... If there exists an alternative to the banned drug which could be used, naturally the player / doctor would be bound to use it.

At the end of the day one would look at the cure and not focus on the cure through a specific opiod. If one starts doing this, then he is abusing a substance.

Non compliance, the word spits the answer. When you have signed-up for WADA you are supposed to comply, else you are bound to be called a cheat

Let me quote a couple of lines from the TUE clause...

"If the medication an athlete is required to take to treat an illness or condition happens to fall under the Prohibited List, a Therapeutic Use Exemption may give that athlete the authorization to take the needed medicine"

That I think explains it all. So don't be so hung-up on morphine, let the doctor decide what is best !!

Homer said...

Raja,

"Non compliance, the word spits the answer. When you have signed-up for WADA you are supposed to comply, else you are bound to be called a cheat" and when you dont sign, you risk being called a dope addict!

Therein lies the nub of the problem!

Cheers,

RajaB said...

@ Homer: The nub lies somewhere, I didn't quite get there...

Pardon my ignorance !!

Can you explain what you are upto ? I didn't quite get your last comment.

Kumar R said...

It is iteresting that Alcohol is prohibited in-competition only for a handful of sports and cricket is not among them - this should be music for Yuvi, freddie...

RajaB said...

@ Kumar: I can't imagine the game of cricket without alcohol... What horror would it be !!

Prafs said...

yeah. couldn't handle the pressure of sunday inter colony matches without a pint here or there or may be while fielding at long on, international cricket without alcohol would be impossible.

RajaB said...

@ Prafs: I was reminded of a sensational news during IPL, about Warne having a drink or two between change over

What would happen to him ?

Samir Chopra said...

Alcohol is a recreational drug. Much more dangerous than weed. But no one seems to worry about it. We glorify it, we name IPL teams after it, we find it funny when cricket players go on all-night benders (a la post-Ashes 2005). But the WADA is worried about recreational drugs and would love to throw the book at someone that smokes a joint. What hypocrites.

I'll only start listening to all the hoo-ha about recreational drugs when alcohol is thrown in there. When that happens, wake me up.

RajaB said...

@Samir: I would agree and disagree at the same breath...

Disagree, because Alcohol is not yet classifed as a drug in that sense. It it still allowed in our lives in moderation (legally). What is that moderate level is the matter.

Agree, from that role model point I have touched upon. If they are to be role models they can't go on a bender after every win. If we encourage that then our sons and daughters might want to go on one after every 90 or 100 they score in academics or sports

That said, Alcohol could be a very touchy topic... because of the simple reason that it is assimilated into the system much faster, without any traces (post that one forceful piss or a dump).

So unless the sport you play is something like a F1 or a Powerboating etc. it doesn't matter if you are drunk or not while on field.

Imagine that Bangladesh ODI morning and Ponting not having smelt anything on Symonds... he might still have played the world cup and could have returned the best allrounder...

So Samir, by the time you wake up all the Alcohol in my system is gone and I am taking guard to face the next ball...

Tough call, which needs to start from outside the sports arena...

First Alcohol has to be classified a drug...

Tell me who would bell this cat ??