Tackling drugs in sport

July 12, 2012
By Anonymous

SAIDS (South African Institute for Drug-free Sport) ensures a culture of ethics and fair play in South Africa. They do this by tackling drug use in the sporting community. Thereby presenting an example to the next generation of athletes. To be proud of being drug free.
This can only be done if athletes are put through strict collection and testing procedures within the athletic community. Usually tests are done on the urine of an athlete but blood tests are also an option. They are unfortunately a lot slower in detecting the drugs in blood; it is also a lot more expensive.
There are three aspects for reliable drug testing. They are the following: Strict collection procedures, proper testing procedures and random notification.
Specimen when collected must be certified by measuring its temperature with a digital thermometer. Witnessed are not necessary but it is also not as reliable as measuring the temperature. The temperature should be between 35’C and 37’C.
When testing the specimen ensures that all the positive results are confirmed by GC/MS (Gas Chromatography-Mass spectrometry) or LC/MS (liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry) analysis.
There are three approaches that can be followed when testing for drugs. The cut-off approach where the test has an administrated ‘limit’ set to report positive results. If the drug is identified but is below the limit it is shown as not detected.
The limit of detection approach, this test reports any detectable amount present in the specimen.
The most reliable test is the Zero tolerance test where both of the above approaches are used. It is a lot more expensive but is also a lot more reliable.
The random notification is an important aspect in the reliability of drug detection. The detection of any drug is determined by the dosage and timing. Usually a limit of 24 hours is acceptable to detect drugs besides alcohol which should be done within 3-4 hours.
There is a lot of work being done to rid the sports community of drugs. The detection is also very complicated and expensive. This leads to the question. Is testing every contestant really necessary, to keep the sports community free of drugs?

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