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Why the war on drugs in sport will never be won

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journal contribution
posted on 18.07.2018, 10:29 by Aaron Smith, Bob Stewart
Recent exposes of drug use in sports suggest that doping might be more problematic than doping-control test results reveal. A zero-tolerance (ZT) model, which aims to eliminate the use, has dominated the thinking of sport’s policy makers over the last 15 years. In light of the limitations associated with ZT-based policy, we propose an alternative policy, one based on controlled use and harm reduction principles. We argue that substance control policies underpinned by harm reduction (HR) principles of social utility and public value will deliver superior social outcomes. First, a harm reduction approach better accommodates the competitive realities of sports and the impact of elite sports’ emphasis on performance at all costs. Second, HR prioritises athlete welfare over sport and brand reputation. Finally, while appreciating the regulatory and risk management responsibilities of sports’ governing bodies, the HR model offers greater space to the athlete’s right to privacy, and right to personal autonomy.

History

School

  • Loughborough University London

Published in

Harm Reduction Journal

Volume

12

Issue

53

Citation

SMITH, A.C.T. and STEWART, B., 2015. Why the war on drugs in sport will never be won. Harm Reduction Journal, 12 (53), DOI 10.1186/s12954-015-0087-5

Publisher

BioMed Central © Smith and Stewart

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/4.0/

Acceptance date

02/11/2015

Publication date

2015

Notes

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

eISSN

1477-7517

Language

en

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