Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/26787
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: An (un)desirable trade of harms? How elite athletes might react to medically supervised 'doping' and their considerations of side-effects in this situation
Author(s): Overbye, Marie
Contact Email: marie.overbye@stir.ac.uk
Keywords: Anti-doping policy
drug control model
the prohibited list
harm reduction
health
sport
Issue Date: May-2018
Citation: Overbye M (2018) An (un)desirable trade of harms? How elite athletes might react to medically supervised 'doping' and their considerations of side-effects in this situation, International Journal of Drug Policy, 55, pp. 14-30.
Abstract: Background: The zero-tolerance approach to doping in sport has long been criticised. Legalising ‘doping’ under medical supervision has been proposed as a better way of protecting both athletes’ health and fair competition. This paper investigates how elite athletes might react if specific doping substances were permitted under medical supervision and explore athletes’ considerations about side-effects in this situation. The results are interpreted using a framework, which views elite sport as an exceptional and risky working environment.  Methods: 775 elite athletes (mean age: 21.73, SD=5.52) representing forty sports completed a web-based questionnaire (response rate: 51%) presenting a scenario of legalised, medically supervised ‘doping’.  Results: 58% of athletes reported an interest in one or more of the 13 proposed substances/methods. Athletes’ interest in a specific product was linked to its capacity to enhance performance levels in the athletes’ particular sport and depended on gender and age. 23% showed interest in either one or more of erythropoietin (EPO), anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS), blood transfusions and/or Growth Hormone if permitted and provided under qualified medical supervision. Male speed and power sports athletes of increasing age had the highest likelihood of being interested in AAS (41%, age 36), female motor-skill sports athletes had the lowest (<1%, age 16). 59% feared side-effects. This fear kept 39% of all athletes from being interested in specific substances/methods whereas 18% declared their interest despite fearing the side-effects.  Conclusion: Interpreting results with the understanding of sport as an exceptional and risky working environment suggests that legalising certain ‘doping’ substances under medical supervision would create other/new types of harms, and this ‘trade-off of harms and benefits’ would be undesirable considering the occupational health, working conditions and well-being of most athletes. Assessing the risks and harms produced/reduced by specific drugs when considering sport as a precarious occupation may prove useful in composing the Prohibited List and reducing drug-related harm in sport.
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2017.12.019
Rights: Author's Accepted Manuscript: This item has been embargoed for a period. During the embargo please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study. Accepted refereed manuscript of: Overbye M (2018) An (un)desirable trade of harms? How elite athletes might react to medically supervised 'doping' and their considerations of side-effects in this situation, International Journal of Drug Policy, 55, pp. 14-30. DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2017.12.019 ©2018, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
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