|WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 8, 2000 — The high financial stakes for all involved in the Olympics, the explosion in performance-enhancing drugs and the lack of an effective policing system to detect the use of such drugs threaten the very integrity of the Olympic games, according to a commission report released today by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).
Because athletes are important role models for our children, the use of performance-enhancing drugs (a practice called doping in the international sports community) by Olympic athletes threatens the health of America's children, concludes Winning At Any Cost: Doping in Olympic Sports, a report of the CASA National Commission on Sports and Substance Abuse, chaired by Rev. Edward A. (Monk) Malloy, president of the University of Notre Dame.
The report, the result of two years of intensive research, is the most comprehensive review to date of use of performance-enhancing drugs in Olympic sports. The report reveals a system that turns a blind eye to the use of performance-enhancing substances by Olympic athletes and recommends a series of steps to eliminate doping in the Olympics. ONDCP was the major funder of the report; the Abercrombie Foundation and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation also provided financial support.
"This report stems from recognition of the significance of the Olympic Games to the people of the world over many generations and the importance of maintaining the integrity of the Olympics as a model of achievement in fact and in appearance," says Joseph A. Califano, Jr. president of CASA and former Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare.
While no one in the Olympic movement seriously advocates doping by athletes, the high financial stakes for Olympic athletes, corporate sponsors, the TV broadcast and cable industries and sports governing bodies, coupled with the pharmacopoeia of performance-enhancing substances, the athlete's drive to win and the absence of an effective policing mechanism, create an environment that encourages doing anything--including doping--to win, the report finds.
"For sports governing bodies, tacit approval of performance-enhancing drugs places their credibility in jeopardy. For society itself, what is at stake is the integrity and meaning of sport and the health and ethical values of a generation of children," said Rev. Malloy, who chairs the 15-member commission.
The report criticizes the weakness of the World Anti-Doping Organization (WADA), which oversees doping in Olympic sports. It calls for a completely independent organization with the authority to create and administer an effective anti-doping program, including comprehensive no-notice testing during training as well as during the games.
"Because athletes have cheated by doping to try to break records and perform amazing feats, Olympic Governing Bodies face a challenge between the goals of promoting sport, including the ability to attract and keep sponsors and capture a world audience, and of preserving the integrity of sport by policing doping. This report will provide an intellectual foundation for the White House Task Force on Drug Use and Sports recently created by the President. Only a completely independent body, (including WADA as it ultimately can be) will be able to take on the challenge of getting doping out of the Olympics," said General Barry McCaffrey, ONDCP director.
Among the report's key findings:
Estimates of the extent of use of performance-enhancing substances vary widely. The lowest estimates of less than three percent come from governing bodies and are believed to substantially underestimate such use. Athletes and coaches believe that the figure is closer to 30 percent and that as many as 80 or 90 percent of athletes in some Olympic sports engage in doping. In cycling, doping rates have been documented at 45 percent.
The primary performance-enhancing drugs used by Olympic athletes are anabolic steroids, stimulants, beta-2 agonists, caffeine, human growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor, and erythropoietin. Nutritional supplements-such as creatine, androstenedione or 19-norandrostenedione, and beta-hydroxy beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) - also are used as well for performance-enhancement.
Athletes employ a variety of methods to beat drug tests including the use of diuretics, adulterants and catheterization.
Notwithstanding the creation of the WADA to coordinate an international anti-doping program, there is no independent and accountable international organization with authority to create and administer an effective anti-doping program for Olympic spots. WADA only has authority to make recommendations to the International Olympic Committee.
The commission presented a detailed roadmap for eliminating doping from Olympic sports. Recommendations for participating nations and other key players include:
Demand that Olympic athletes be free of performance-enhancing substances.
Establish an independent organization responsible for doping control in Olympic sports.
Conduct the needed research to determine the long-term consequences of use of performance-enhancing substances.
Expand and improve cost-effective testing including an international collaborative effort, over a five-year period and funded at a total of up to $100 million.
Adopt a standard protocol for establishing the banned substance list.
Conduct comprehensive out-of-competition testing.
CASA's National Commission on Sports and Substance Abuse was created in August 1998 to examine the rules, regulations, and conduct of professional, Olympic, collegiate, and high school sports with respect to all substance abuse, including use of illegal drugs, performance-enhancing drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. The commission is examining football, hockey, baseball, men's and women's basketball, tennis, track and field, soccer, and golf. Subsequent commission reports will examine substance abuse and American sports at the professional, collegiate and high school levels, explore methods of preventing drug use and survey American Olympic athletes.
Other commission members include Dr. Drew E. Altman, President, The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation; Willie Davis, President of All Pro Broadcasting and captain of the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl I and II; Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg, Provost, Harvard University and past Dean, Harvard School of Public Health; Ellen V. Futter, President, American Museum of Natural History and past President, Barnard College; Joe Garagiola, National Chairman, National Spit Tobacco Education Program and former Major League Baseball player; Margaret E. Mahoney, President, MEM Associates, Inc. and past President, The Commonwealth Fund; Dr. June E. Osborn, President, Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation; Dr. Herbert Pardes, Vice President for Health Sciences and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons; Joseph Paterno, Head Football Coach, Pennsylvania State University; Joseph Plumeri, II, co-owner, Trenton Thunder Minor League Baseball Team and former chairman and chief executive officer, Primerica Financial Services; Dr. Beny J. Primm, Executive Director, Addiction Research and Treatment Corporation; Richard Ravitch, lawyer and businessman; U.S. Representative J.C. Watts (R-OK) and U.S Senator Paul D. Wellstone (D-MN).
The commission report was prepared by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA). CASA's staff of more than 60 professionals, includes 16 Doctorates and 15 Masters in the fields of business, communications, computer engineering, criminology, economics, education, government, history, journalism, linguistics, medicine, psychiatry, psychology, public health, public policy, social work, sociology and statistics; one M.D., and three attorneys. CASA conducts demonstration programs at 38 sites in 25 cities in 16 states, and issues public policy reports on a variety of topics including assessments of the impact of substance abuse and addiction on American populations and systems.