Athletes should be aware that doping can have severe health and social consequences.
Social consequences of committing an ADRV and receiving a sanction may include:
- loss of sponsorship deals
- loss of income
- removal of previous achievements
- damaged relationships with friends and family
- isolation from peers and sport
- damage to future career prospects
- effects on emotional and psychological well-being.
Substances and methods used to dope have health consequences. Many can lead to severe health issues or even death.
Taking steroids can produce:
- increased aggression and mood swings
- libido disorders
- high blood pressure and increased risk of cardiovascular and liver disease
- psychological dependence
- increased risk of contracting hepatitis and HIV from needle use
- for males: impotence, infertility, breast enlargement, premature baldness
- for females: development of male features such as deepening voice, excessive hair growth on the face and body, and fetal damage in pregnancy.
Taking Human Growth Hormone can result in:
- diabetes in prone individuals
- worsening of cardiovascular diseases
- muscle, joint and bone pain
- hypertension and cardiac deficiency
- abnormal growth of organs
- accelerated osteoarthritis.
By thickening the blood, EPO abuse can lead to an increased risk of several deadly diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and cerebral or pulmonary embolism.
Use of recreational or social drugs is banned in sport. Whilst an athlete can be in a compromising situation with peers outside sport, it’s important for athletes to recognise that social drugs, such as cannabis, can be detrimental to sporting performance and result in a positive test result weeks later.
Some sports such as football and rugby run a comprehensive social drugs testing programme. This is to ensure that players maintain the values and behaviours of clean sport.
For impartial advice on recreational drugs, the FRANK website is a useful resource.