Drug Testing in athletes (Part 3)

Drug Testing in athletes (Part 3)The last portion of the lengthy articles deals with a bunch of true stories. Anabolic steroids have been abused profusely by the athletes, though currently number of offenders per year has reduced drastically. Banned drugs are easily available at the pharmaceutical outlets and can be bought along with masking agents like diuretics. If proper time is given to the athlete, he or she can successfully hide drug intake. The agents listed on the banned listed are largely those which are normally used in the clinical setting but in much lower doses. Hence, they will not show up in dramatic quantities in urine samples. Even then, it is advisable to inform the authorities before-hand about any medical issue that calls to attention the use of beta blockers or AAS.Fragments from Past: NCAA One of my friends was an athlete, and he was certainly a massive one. Weighing 300 pounds on the weighing machine, he was among those who got tested routinely. Anyone who presents with a large bulk of muscle mass is investigated regularly for steroid offence. Anyhow, we met at a party where people were doing drugs openly and consuming bottles of alcohol. He was to be drug tested in a few days’ time and wasn’t consuming anything offensive. Even then, he admitted to have taken marijuana innumerable times on the night of the test and came out clean every single time. I found it pretty staggering.Mankind has devised several ways to wriggle around the legal proceedings. Athletes have known to use catheters and oral sodium bicarbonate to change their urine content. An attempt at fool proof method, however, was made in 1995. According to it, the athlete was notified about the impending test right before the training session so that he had no time to evacuate the bladder. On presenting for testing, he chose the bottle randomly and took it to bathroom along with a monitor. The monitor was to witness the flow of urine into the vial without which the test would be invalid. Next a form had to be filled which, like the bottle, was tagged. Immediately therefore a few simple tests were performed to check the PH and specific gravity. This quick measure was to rule out any indication of tempering. The athlete was not allowed to sign off until the above tests came clear.According to the NCAA protocol, athletes have to be tested for cocaine, marijuana and amphetamines along with AAS. This is however not followed. One of the reasons might be increased cost of testing per athlete for all the four agents. Others might be simple carelessness or laziness. Commonly those with a bigger built are tested for steroids while lean ones are tested for marijuana. Only rarely do the authorities investigate a sample for all four banned drugs; giving my friend sufficient room to break the law without getting caught.Weightlifting Bulgarians have rocked the weightlifting games in the past. Though they claim all it to be a product of resourceful training, that can’t be possible. They still have the same training equipment, they have the best coaches in the world yet the champions that used to spring out of it routinely are nowhere to be seen. The present situation is largely suggestive of the fact that Bulgarian athletes were into drugs, the use of which has been suspended since the development of doping tests. Those who were to compete fasted in a row for three days straight. Fasting lowers endogenous testosterone production while at the same type increases steroid excretion in urine. Most of the AAS taken during training routine was easily flushed out so even after drug tests were invented, Bulgarians were hardly caught. The use of diuretics to increase daily urine production was the key for them; by excreting more urine they eventually excreted the entire drug. This tactic proved fruitful until diuretic-detecting tests were devised and this is how the great Bulgarian weight lifters saw their defeat. To mount the embarrassment, the entire team was detected positive during Olympics and those who weren’t withdrew as surrender.Talking about USA, I personally know a few athletes that took prohormones and yet tested negative. According to the book by Dr. Voy, bribed workers drain the urine samples of athletes and then report the results as negative. There were other reasons too for increasingly negative results, for example they might be due to unusually low dose of AAS in the tablets ingests or due to more than rapid conversion of the androgenic component into estrogen. One of the athletes went as far as performing a series of tests on him. He consumed progressively larger doses of AAS and tested his blood and urine samples after that. He noticed that an average intake of around 1000 mg of A generated enough testosterone in his system to boost his athletic performance while at the same time providing rapid conversion to estrogen to escape detection. These results are highly subjective and vary from individual to individual. Several new techniques are being developed in order to further cut down the number of athletes practicing doping. Two of the carbons are substituted with isotopes and their ratio matched. It is believed that a mismatch between the two will suggest presence of offending agents in the urine sample. Another new technique makes use of Growth Hormone and other peptide hormones. This is however not very fruitful and requires refining because market is teeming with intranasal sprays with short-acting growth hormone analogues; they are rapidly cleared from the blood and not detected. Immune assays are very sensitive tests but their results alone, too, are not to valid enough to base a decision on. It needs to be made sure that the testing equipment is up to date and modern enough to detect all sorts of drug abuse. Full protocol should be followed and proper capital should be provided to the laboratories. In addition, an eye should be kept out for attorneys who are able to grant their clients concessions with good skills in court.
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