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Doping controls doomed to fail says new study

July 26, 2013

ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — The current controls on drug use in sport are doomed to fail and performed largely for show, according to researchers on a new study produced in Australia.

The University of Adelaide study — ‘Anti-doping systems in sports are doomed to fail: a probability and cost analysis’ — examining worldwide data of positive doping tests from 93 different sports, found that single, random drug tests caught drug cheats just 2.9 percent of the time. For a 100 percent strike rate, every athlete in the world would need to be drug tested up to 50 times a year.

“The current system of anti-doping testing is inadequate to eliminate doping,” study co-author professor Maciej Henneberg said in a statement Friday. “It appears that anti-doping policies are in place more for perception, to show that the right thing is being done.

“In practice ... the anti-doping system is doomed to fail.”

Henneberg said if athletes were tested 12 times a year, their odds of being caught was only 33 percent - assuming they were continuously using a banned substance.

“But we know that athletes don’t continuously use performance enhancing drugs, they have increasingly sophisticated techniques to avoid detection,” Henneberg said.

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