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Adam Richman
Things To Know About Prescription Drugs In Athletes

Things To Know About Prescription Drugs In Athletes

We all know there’s a fine line in what you can take as an athlete when it comes to drugs and prescription drugs. For drugs such as anabolic steroids and illegal drugs such as cocaine it’s very clear they are against the rules, not to mention the spirit of competition.

However, when it comes to prescription drugs the area is a little greyer. Especially if you are of a higher level and competing professionally, semi professionally or at an amateur level where drug testing is in place.

Of course, the first thing to know about prescription drugs is that they can carry side effects and be addictive. These problems aren’t going to level up performance, but ultimately weaken it.

Prescription drug addiction is an ever-increasing risk in society, with more people checking into rehab than ever before. The dependency on them lessens the effect so when you do actually need to use them, the less effective treatment is going to be.

Then there’s the side effects. While pain relief can numb pain, drowsiness, diarrhoea, fatigue and many other symptoms can all kick in, which is not going to make you faster, stronger or more focused, but rather shift from one problem to another.

The use of supplements and prescription medication has been growing significantly in sport over the last few decades. The progression in science in sport has meant that athletes are doing everything within the boundaries (and sometimes beyond) to claim those marginal gains and get ahead of opposition.

For the most part, these are legal within sport, however there are plenty that are not too and you certainly need to be aware of those, otherwise you could fall foul, not only receiving punishment, but also damaging your reputation significantly.

What’s Prohibited In Sport?

There’s a long list provided by the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) that acts as almost a bible for athletes, being able to look up banned substances and ensure they’re not falling foul of the legalities.

According to UKAD, WADA provides a list that is broken down into three sections. These being:

  • Drugs prohibited at all times
  • Drugs prohibited during the in-competition period
  • Drugs prohibited for particular sports

It’s vitally important to understand the differences between the three as many athletes, including high-profile ones, have fallen foul of these.

Among the most common substances prohibited are those that have proven to have performance enhancing capabilities, such as anabolic steroids, peptide hormones and diuretics, whether prescribed or not.

Ultimately, if you are using these substances on medical advice, there are special dispensations you can get, otherwise you will not be able to compete. Or certainly be able to compete legally.

There are far too many substances to list when it comes to all those prohibited. However, if you do want further information around this, then the best thing to do is visit the WADA website, where you’ll find the full list.

You can view this here: https://www.wada-ama.org/en/prohibited-list

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