By Ask Vest Christiansen and John Gleaves
As the holiday season is drawing near and we all are sprinting towards finalising a number of tasks before the break, we are pleased to provide you with the last of four 2016 INDR Newsletters. In addition to an invitation to submit abstracts for the 2017 INDR conference, it contains three interesting commentaries.
By Anders Schmidt Vinther, Aalborg Antidoping, Department of Health and Culture, Aalborg Municipality, Denmark
When the reality star Spencer Matthews appeared in the TV show Good Morning Britain (GMB) on July 13 2016 and talked openly about his previous and mistaken use of anabolic steroids, the underlying theme was as clear as it was predictable: Steroid use is a threat to public health, and, more importantly, the number of users is increasing. Matthews, along with the general practitioner Dr. Hilary Jones, were invited to comment on the alleged explosion of young men using steroids for performance- and image-enhancing purposes.
This commentary is part of Christophe Brissonneau and Jeffrey Montez de Oca’s forthcoming book, Doping, Deviance, and Sports: The voices of Athletes and their Physicians in France’s elite Sport System, 1950-2010, due out in May 2017.
By Olivier de Hon, Manager Scientific Affairs at the Anti-Doping Authority of the Netherlands
Strangely enough, with the many doping related discussions that are being held, the issue of effectiveness of anti-doping policies is often overlooked in the academic field. At the core of this topic is the question how often doping use actually occurs. Obviously, the most accurate answer is ‘we just don’t know’ as it is virtually impossible to assess the exact prevalence of a prohibited act. But estimates exist, and current scientific knowledge points to a prevalence ranging from 4 to 39% of intentional use amongst elite competitive athletes (De Hon et al. 2015, Duiven & De Hon 2015). It is clear that the prevalence of doping is considerably different between types of sport, levels and nationalities. This issue needs to be studied far more often, as it is the prime parameter to evaluate anti-doping efforts and policies.