February 24, 2006
Say no to drugs

How often have we heard this warning? It is directed to mainly younger persons and even older individuals.

A Barbadian doctor is sending out the advice to the broader society including coaches, teachers, trainers, parents, athletes, doctors, and pharmacists. He is Dr. Adrian Lorde, a member of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).

Lorde, regarded as the region’s authority on anti-doping issues, gave the feature presentation at last Saturday’s 2005 Sports awards. {{more}}

He justified the choice, as he alerted listeners to various aspects of drug production, usage and abuse.

Dr. Lorde noted the prevalence of drugs worldwide and alluded to the number of incidents which surfaced even at the current Winter Olympics.

He acknowledged that the temptation is there for young athletes to use drugs in order to enhance their medal hauls. But he was stern: “say no.”

He warned: “Some drugs are manufactured for medical conditions. But athletes tend to use them in larger doses, increased frequency to get other benefits that are not there,” Dr. Lorde pointed out.

“Not only are they cheating, but they are causing physical harm to the body, if not then maybe in the future,” the Barbadian doctor added.

He outlined that the list of banned drugs is updated every year.

Drug testing has become standardised, and with the International Cricket Council (ICC) sponsored World Cup scheduled for the Caribbean next year, there will be added importance to the drug testing measures. Each country will be responsible for activities that take place in their territory. But not only will the athletes be liable, Dr. Lorde pointed out: “If we don’t put our house in order, we’ll be in problems.”

Countries and athletes can find that drug tests can come at any time, so everyone has to be ready. And ignorance of any banned substance will not be an excuse. So the onus is on everyone to know what is happening around them as far as drugs are concerned.

For Dr. Lorde, there is need for “positive role models.”

“You are clean, you work your way to the top,” he declared.

Dr. Lorde noted that what is happening as it relates to drugs and sports, is a reflection of the wider society. He acknowledged that testing might be expensive. But he underlined the impact of one’s being caught in the drug dragnet.

Efforts to strengthen the region’s position on anti-doping measures were intensified this week in Grenada with a meeting of a Caribbean Region Anti-doping Organisation.

Dr. Lorde noted that sportsmen ought to realise that there is life outside drugs.