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Study Reports Anti-Doping Systems for Sports Fail

Update Date: Jul 26, 2013 02:13 PM EDT

Sports can be effective in uniting people from all different kinds of backgrounds, upbringings, values and belief because in sports the focus is on the human body and the amazing feats that it can accomplish. Even though sports competition is supposed to create an equal atmosphere between athletes, the risk of doping is still relatively high. Based on a new report out of the University of Adelaide in Australia, researchers found that programs to help prevent doping are ineffective.

"Despite testing, doping in sports now seems to be more widespread than ever. However, because anti-doping systems in sports are so unreliable, and the number of test per year is so low, the likelihood of catching a drug cheat is extremely low," the professor Maciej Henneberg, who was a supervisor of the study, said according to Medical Xpress.

The research team looked at worldwide data that were made up of positive doping tests. The researchers focused on their sensitivity and frequency in 93 multiple sports. The researchers concluded that detecting doping in sports is extremely difficult. The likelihood of successfully identifying which athletes doped is very low and the researchers stated that in order to make drug screening more effective, the costs would increase drastically.

"If an athlete receives 12 tests a year, the probability of detection with continuous doping is only 33 percent. But we know that athletes don't continuously use performance-enhancing drugs; they have increasingly sophisticated techniques to avoid detection," Henneberg stated. "In reality, if sports authorities are to have a 100 percent chance of detecting drug cheats, each of the world's athletes would need to be tested up to 50 times a year at a cost of at least $25,000 per athlete. And that's just based on the lowest cost tests currently available, without any of the additional costs."

"This suggests that the current system of anti-doping testing in inadequate to eliminate doping," Henneberg added. "It appears that anti-doping policies are in place more for perception, to show that the right thing is being done. In practice, based on these estimates, the anti-doping system is doomed to fail."

Since the costs to detect illicit drug use would be way too costly, the researchers suggest that there needs to revisions on how to screen athletes who dope in a more efficient way. For more information, visit the University of Adelaide's report here

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