SAN DIEGO, CA, July 17, 2007— Testing alone will not put an end to the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports, according to a presentation today at the annual meeting of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry. Drug-testing experts say it will take a cultural change among athletes and society to stop the use of anabolic steroids, EPO, human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing substances that have plagued the sports world and seriously tainted last year’s Tour de France.
“We are making a difference in the war against these drugs, but this battle goes beyond just testing,” said Larry D. Bowers, PhD, senior managing director, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. “A cultural change is beginning and we need it to continue for sport to clean itself up.”
He compared a successful deterrent program to a three-legged stool: The first leg is testing, the second is holding the athlete accountable for his or her actions, and the third leg is education. The cross-braces holding the stool together are ethics, research and intelligence gathering.
Dr. Bowers points to the number of athletes who have recently come clean about their use of performance-enhancing drugs as a signal that the cultural change is taking place. “Athletes are speaking out, admitting they took drugs and saying ‘I don’t like what has happened to my sport. I want to see positive change.’” According to Bowers, another indication that drug taking may be on the decline is athletes’ performances in recent years. For example, the distances in women’s shot put are decreasing.
“Everyone can have a role in improving the situation, either as a fan or as a competitor,” concluded Dr. Bowers. “Sport is a microcosm of life. We can all set good examples in our lives by not cheating, avoiding shortcuts and doing ethical things.”
Presentation Details: Performance-Enhancing Drugs in Sport: From Strychnine to the BALCO Scandal— Tuesday, July 17, 8:45am–10:15am, San Diego Convention Center, Ballroom 20.
The 59th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry is July 15-19 at the San Diego Convention Center. The meeting attracts 20,000 physicians, scientists and other professionals interested in laboratory science and medicine. More than 200 educational sessions will present the latest information on a wide range of topics in science and medicine. For more information on AACC, visit www.aacc.org.
Interviews with Dr. Bowers may be arranged by contacting Brian Ruberry at (619) 525-6227.