WADA: Over Ten Percent of Tested Athletes Using Steroids and PEDs

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David Howman, the director general of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), has admitted that the use of anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing drugs may be much more pervasive than the anti-doping testing statistics suggest. Conventional wisdom gleaned from the number of athletes actually caught taking steroids would place the number of steroid users at approximately 1-2 percent of tested athletes. Recent WADA-funded research indicates the rate may be greater than 10 percent.

“We should not be complacent, sit back and think, ‘We are only dealing with 1 percent or 1½ percent of the elite athlete population’ ,” said Howman. “It could be much higher, and the initial responses from this research indicates that it is.”

Howman’s admission is yet another acknowledgement that current anti-doping protocols are woefully ineffective.

Colin Moynihan, the chairman of the British Olympic Association, has provided some of the harshest criticism of ineffectiveness of WADA at policing the steroid and PED use in sports. He has called for an independent audit of WADA.

“It is understandable that many in sport have concluded that (WADA) has underachieved in the 10 years it has been operational,” said Moynihan. “Not least because …. the system put in place by WADA has failed to catch the major drug cheats of our time.”

Howman has previously stated that the “sophisticated” steroid users have historically been able to avoid detection. WADA has only been able to catch the “dopey dopers”.

Anti-doping protocols may never be able to catch all of the sophisticated dopers. Instead, Howman believes he future of the anti-doping movement may be in the use of intelligence (non-analytical positives) gathered from government law enforcement agencies regarding the doping activities of athletes.

At the same time as Howman discusses his lack of confidence in the ability of testing alone to catch PED users, John Fahey, the president of WADA, has placed his full faith in the ability of testers to catch steroid users at the 2012 London Olympics.

“The likelihood of cheats succeeding in the London Olympics is somewhat remote,” according to Fahey.

 World Anti-Doping Agency


Associated Press. (February 7, 2012). WADA: 1 in 10 may be doping. Retrieved from http://espn.go.com/olympics/story/_/id/7550694/wada-says-research-indicates-1-10-athletes-doping