WADA calls on governments to follow U.S. example against drugs

26.03.2007

By Marie V. Thesbjerg
The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) wants governments to take action against the illegal manufacture and distribution of performance-enhancing substances as an evolution in the global fight against doping in sport is underway.

WADA calls on governments to take action through laws and applauds recent action in the United States that targeted a wide-scale doping scheme involving the illegal manufacture and distribution of performance-enhancing drugs.

A US multi-state investigation into the illegal sale of steroids and Internet drug sales called “Operation Which Doctor” has exposed widespread illicit steroid use by professional athletes and thousands of people across the country.

Nearly two-dozen doctors, pharmacists and business owners have been arrested in Alabama, Texas, Florida and New York and charged with various felonies for unlawfully distributing steroids and other controlled substances, writes the Albany Times.

A number of professional athletes have reportedly shown up on client lists, though prosecutors say they are going after suppliers, not customers.

Bloomberg News reports that professional athletes may be subpoenaed to testify against doctors and pharmacists involved in distributing illegal steroids over the Internet, according to the New York prosecutor leading the investigation, Albany County District Attorney P. David Soares.

The operation has involved agencies including the Attorney General, Internal Revenue Service, and The Drug Enforcement Agency. 

Governments' wake up call
In the light of the US case, WADA urges increased cooperation between government and law enforcement agencies around the globe to attack sinister elements in the doping underground.

“There is a necessary and inevitable evolution underway in the global fight against doping in sport, expanding beyond the traditional model that targets athletes through testing, research and education. It requires a more unified and cooperative action among law enforcement and anti-doping agencies to shut down source and supply,” says WADA President Richard W. Pound on WADA’s homepage, in response to a new report on doping and trafficking by anti-doping expert Sandro Donati.

“The ‘upstream’ organizers of doping on a broad scale, including traffickers and members of the athlete entourage, must be held accountable. They are well-organized and well-financed individuals and groups who prey on athletes and youth and who profit from cheating while risking very little themselves,” says Pound. 

Calls on governments to intervene
Measures have been taken affirming the jurisdiction and duty of government and law enforcement to limit the availability and movement of banned substances and to hold accountable those who facilitate their abuse.

The UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport, giving governments the practical tool for aligning their domestic policies with the World Anti-Doping Code, came into formal effect on February 1, 2007. At the same time, WADA and Interpol, the world’s largest police organisation, have agreed to work closely together.

“These are important steps, yet more assertive and collaborative action is needed,” says WADA Director General David Howman.

“We are calling on governments around the world to give law enforcement agencies the framework and tools necessary to shut down the large scale doping schemes, and to facilitate collaboration between law enforcement and sports authorities in their investigative work so that sport can sanction those who facilitate and profit from cheating. 

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