FAQs
Click to explore USADA's Frequently Asked Questions.

General


Q: What is USADA?
A: USADA is the United States Anti-Doping Agency, the independent, non-governmental, national anti-doping agency for Olympic, Paralympic Pan American and Para panamerican sports in the United States. USADA is dedicated to preserving the integrity of competition, inspiring true sport and protecting the health of athletes. USADA began drug testing of athletes on October 2, 2000 and is responsible for managing the testing and adjudication process of the athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement. USADA is also responsible for drug reference resources including the therapeutic-use exemption process, scientific research initiatives, and athlete and outreach education.

Q: How do you contact USADA (mailing address, telephone, fax or email)?
A: Our mailing address is 5555 Tech Center Drive, Suite 200, Colorado Springs, CO 80919-2372. USADA's main telephone number is 719-785-2000, and its toll-free telephone number is 1-866-601-2632. USADA's main fax number is 719-785-2001. USADA's general email address is usada@usada.org.

Q: Who can be contacted with questions about prohibited substances?
A: The USADA Drug Reference Line™ at 1-800-233-0393, or 1-719-785-2020 (outside the United States). GlobalDRO™ (www.GlobalDRO.com) is a searchable, Web-accessible database. Inquiries can be e-mailed to drugreference@usada.org. The USADA Drug Reference Line™ and GlobalDRO™ do not provide information on specific supplements.

Q: How much does USADA distribute in scientific research grants on an annual basis?
A: From its inception until 2009, USADA budgeted $2 million in scientific research grants A complete listing of the recipients of grants is available at www.usada.org/science. Since 2009, research grants have come under the direction of the Partnership for Clean Competition.

Q: What are some of the education programs available through the USADA?
A: USADA’s education programs provide athletes, coaches and other interested individuals’ valuable information on such topics as nutrition, dietary supplements, USADA policies, decision-making and other related topics. For more details, visit www.usada.org/outreach and www.truesport.org.

Testing


Q: Whom does USADA test?
A: USADA has authority to test:
  • any athlete who is a member of a National Governing Body (NGB)
  • any athlete participating at a competition sanctioned by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) or a NGB
  • any international athlete who is present in the United States
  • any other athlete who has given his/her consent to testing by USADA or who has submitted a Whereabouts Filing to USADA or an International Federation (IF) within the previous 12 months and has not given his/her NGB or USADA written notice of retirement
  • any athlete who has been named by the USOC or a NGB to an international team or who is included in the USADA Registered Testing Pool or is competing in a qualifying event to represent the USOC or NGB in international competition
  • any United States athlete or international athlete present in the United States who is serving a period of ineligibility on account of an anti-doping rules violation and who has not given prior notice of retirement from all sanctioned competitions to the applicable NGB and USADA, or the applicable foreign anti-doping agency or foreign sports association
  • USADA does testing for International Federations (IFs), other National Anti-Doping Organizations (NADOs) and the World Anti-Doping Agency. Generally, USADA does not test at the Olympic Games. The Local Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games and WADA oversee testing at the Games.

Q: What type of tests does USADA conduct?
A: USADA conducts in-competition (IC) and out-of-competition (OOC) tests. OOC testing is testing of individual athletes in an out-of-competition setting with little or no advance notice of the test. In-Competition testing is generally testing conducted following an event. USADA collects both urine and blood samples as part of its program. For more information please visit www.usada.org/collection.

Q: Which substances and methods are prohibited at all times both in- and out-of-competition?
A: The WADA Prohibited List identifies those prohibited substances and methods that are prohibited at all times (both in-competition and out-of-competition). An athlete must check the WADA Prohibited List to determine what substances are prohibited. The substances and methods in the following categories - anabolic agents, hormones and related substances, beta-2 agonists, hormone antagonists and modulators, diuretics and other masking agents, enhancement of oxygen transfer, chemical and physical manipulation, and gene doping are prohibited at all times in- and out-of-competition. Over-the-counter dietary supplements may contain substances in these prohibited categories. The WADA-accredited laboratories test for the classes of substances and methods that are prohibited both in- and out-of-competition by the WADA Prohibited List.

Q: Which substances and methods are prohibited in-competition?
A: The WADA-accredited laboratories test for all classes of substances and methods that are prohibited both in- and out-of-competition by the WADA Prohibited List. (Please see substances prohibited in- and out-of-competition. An athlete must check the WADA Prohibited List to determine what substances are prohibited. The substances prohibited in-competition, in addition to the substances and methods prohibited in- and out-of-competition include stimulants, narcotics, cannabinoids (hashish, marijuana) glucocorticosteroids and classes of prohibited substances in certain sports (i.e., alcohol and beta-blockers).

Q: How often do athletes need to submit a quarterly Whereabouts Filing to USADA?
A: As long as an athlete is enrolled in the USADA Registered Testing Pool (RTP), athletes must submit a Whereabouts Filing to USADA on a quarterly basis- deadlines for submission are: December 31, March 31, June 30, September 30. For more information on whereabouts please visit www.usada.org/whereabouts.

Q: When should athletes submit a whereabouts update to USADA?
A: Any time their schedule changes from that which has previously been provided, an update should be submitted.

Q: How can I submit an update to my schedule?
A: Athletes may submit updates in several ways, including: online at www.usada.org, via email to update@usada.org (email must come from an email address that USADA has on file for you), via text message to text@usada.org.

Q: How are athletes selected for OOC Testing?
A: USADA selects athletes to test in an out-of-competition setting based on an automated draw that considers a number of factors, including athlete ranking, risk of doping within each sport and test history. All athletes from all sports under USADA’s jurisdiction are subject to OOC testing and USADA has the right to test any athlete for any reason. All NGBs are required to provide a list of athletes for inclusion in the USADA Registered Testing Pool at least quarterly. With respect to each athlete on the list and any additional athletes designated by USADA for inclusion in the USADA Registered Testing Pool, each athlete receives an OOC packet from USADA which includes a USADA Guide to Prohibited Substances and Prohibited Methods in Doping, wallet card, pertinent forms and educational materials. After initial entry into the USADA RTP, it is the responsibility of each individual athlete to provide USADA with current and updated information specifying his/her whereabouts. On a quarterly basis, USADA posts the names of the U.S. athletes who have been tested by USADA at www.usada.org.

Q: What happens when a USADA Doping Control Officer (DCO) attempts to locate an athlete and the athlete is unavailable during the 60-minute time slot at the location specified on his/her Whereabouts Filing?
A: It is the responsibility of the athletes to update USADA any time their schedule changes from that which they have submitted on their Whereabouts Filing. According to the International Standard for Testing (IST) it is the responsibility of the DCO to make a reasonable effort to locate the athlete for testing.If the DCO is unable to locate the athlete for testing, he/she will complete an Unsuccessful Attempt Report and submit this to USADA. The USADA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), upon review of the DCO’s attempt, will determine whether or not the attempt to test will be considered a Whereabouts Failure – Missed Test. If there is reasonable basis for declaring a Whereabouts Failure – Missed Test, USADA sends the athlete a letter notifying him/her. The letter invites the athlete to submit a written response to the Whereabouts Failure – Missed Test. The USADA CEO reviews the response and makes a final decision as to whether or not this will be declared a Whereabouts Failure – Missed Test.

Q: How can athletes obtain a password to enable use of the online whereabouts system?
A: Contact USADA via email to Formsadmin@usada.org or call us at 866-601-2632. We will walk you through the process of obtaining password information and utilizing the online system.

Q: Can a missed test decision be reviewed?
A: Yes. All final decision letters regarding a Whereabouts Failure (either Missed Test or Filing Failure) will advise the athlete that he/she may request a review by an administrative panel under the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Anti-Doping Policies. The administrative review panel is composed of three members of the USADA Board of Directors or their designees. This panel will review only written materials and determine whether or not to overturn or uphold the CEO’s Whereabouts Failure decision. This panel is not considered a hearing and shall not be binding in any subsequent hearing.

Q: What should athletes do when they retire from their sport?
A: For USADA purposes, any athlete who retires must promptly inform USADA and his/her respective NGB, in writing. Also, the athlete should check with his/her respective International Federation (IF) for its policy on retirement. Under the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Anti-Doping Policies, any athlete who has not provided advance written notice of retirement to USADA and then refuses to participate in a USADA Out-of Competition (OOC) test claiming retirement will be ineligible for a period of two years.

Q: If an athlete is suspended for a doping violation does the athlete remain part of the USADA RTP? of the OOC program?
A: The suspended athlete must comply with all requirements of the USADA RTP during the period of ineligibility, including submitting current and up-to-date athlete whereabouts information to USADA, and must bear the costs associated with any OOC tests conducted by USADA on him/her during the period of ineligibility before being reinstated.

Q: Are the athlete and NGB informed of negative test results?
A: Yes, USADA informs the athlete, the USOC and the relevant NGB of all negative test results by letter.

Code


Q: What is the World Anti-Doping Code (Code)?
A: The World Anti-Doping Code is the core document that provides a framework for the anti-doping policies, rules and regulations within sport organizations and among public authorities. The Code is the first document to harmonize regulations regarding anti-doping matters across all sports and countries of the world.

Q: When did the Code become effective?
A: Many international federations implemented the Code effective January 1, 2004. All international federations adopted and implemented the Code by August 13, 2004, which was the opening date of the 2004 Olympic Games. After a thorough review and consultation process, the WADA Foundation Board approved a newly, Revised Code in November 2007. The newly, revised Code was implemented on January 1, 2009.

Q: Which organization determines the substances and methods that are prohibited?
A: The World Anti-Doping Agency has a committee (List Committee) that determines the list of prohibited substances and methods. All signatories to the WADA Code follow the WADA Prohibited List.

Q: How does a substance or method get included on the WADA Prohibited List?
A: A substance or method will be considered for the WADA Prohibited List if the substance or method meets two of the following three criteria (none of the three criteria individually is sufficient to add a substance/method to the Prohibited List). 1. Medical or other scientific evidence, pharmacological effect or experience that the substance/method has the potential to enhance sports performance. 2. Medical or other scientific evidence, pharmacological effect or experience that the use of the substance/method represents an actual or potential health risk to the athlete. 3. WADA’s determination that the use of the substance/method violates the spirit of sport.

Adjudication Process


Q: How is an athlete informed of an Adverse Analytical Finding, Atyptical Finding from a laboratory or other potential rules violation?
AA: After receiving notification from the laboratory of an Adverse Analytical Finding or if USADA has decided to move forward on another potential rules violation USADA notifies the athlete, the USOC, the relevant IF, WADA and the athlete’s NGB by letter. In the event a sample is reported as an “Atypical Finding” by the laboratory, meaning that it contains a potentially unusual level of a substance that may be the result of doping, USADA conducts an investigation and only notifies the athlete if the further investigation appears to indicate doping.

Q: How long after an Adverse Analytical Finding report by the laboratory does the ‘B’ sample opening and analysis occur?
AThe ‘B’ sample opening and analysis typically occur within ten working days after the Adverse Analytical Finding report by the laboratory.

Q: Does the athlete have an opportunity to attend the ‘B’ sample opening and analysis?
A: Yes. The athlete and the athlete's representative are given the opportunity, at the athlete's expense, to attend the ‘B’ sample opening and analysis.

Q: What happens if the ‘B’ sample analysis confirms the Adverse Analytical Finding?
A: This is considered a positive test and the test results are turned over to the Anti-Doping Review Board for its review and recommendation.

Q: What is the Anti-Doping Review Board?
A: The Anti-Doping Review Board is a group of experts independent of USADA with medical, technical and legal knowledge of doping matters. These experts meet to recommend whether there is sufficient evidence of doping or other rule violations to proceed to a hearing.

Q: Prior to the case going to the independent Anti-Doping Review Board, who is notified of the Adverse Analytical Finding or of other potential rule violations?
USADA notifies the athlete, the USOC, the relevant IF, WADA and the relevant NGB.

Q: Is the athlete permitted to attend the Anti-Doping Review Board meeting?
A: No. The Anti-Doping Review Board meeting is not a hearing. The Anti-Doping Review Board accepts written submittals from the athlete concerning the athlete's case.

Q: How long after the Adverse Analytical Finding before the Anti-Doping Review Board meets?
A: The Anti-Doping Review Board generally meets (typically by teleconference) within three weeks after a ‘B’ sample analysis confirms an an Adverse Analytical Finding.

Q: What happens after the Anti-Doping Review Board makes its recommendation concerning the test?
A: After the Anti-Doping Review Board presents its recommendation to USADA, USADA will notify the athlete or other person in writing whether USADA considers the matter closed or alternately what specific charges or alleged violations will be adjudicated and what sanction USADA is seeking to have imposed. USADA forwards the Anti-Doping Review Board's recommendation to the athlete, the relevant NGB, the USOC, the relevant IF and WADA.

Q: Does the athlete have the right to a hearing if USADA proceeds with adjudication as a result of a positive or elevated test, or other potential rule violation?
A: Yes. The athlete has the right to contest the sanction sought by USADA.
  • The athlete may elect to proceed to a hearing before the American Arbitration Association (AAA) using a single arbitrator (or a three-arbitrator panel, if requested by either of the parties) selected from a pool of the North American Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) arbitrators, who shall also be AAA arbitrators.

Q: What rules apply to the hearing process?
A: The American Arbitration Association Supplementary Procedures for Adjudication of Doping Disputes (the "AAA Supplementary Procedures") and the USADA Protocol apply to the hearing before AAA/CAS. The regular CAS Appellate rules apply to hearings held before CAS.

Q: How long after the Anti-Doping Review Board's recommendation will the hearing take place?
A: The AAA Supplementary Procedures require that the requested hearing takes place within three months of the appointment of the arbitrator(s).

Q: What rules do the sanctions for doping and/or rule violations apply?
A: Under the USADA adjudication process, the sanction must be consistent with the WADA Code, the relevant IF rules or the USOC Anti-Doping Policies.

Q: Who pays for the adjudication process?
A: Administrative costs of the USADA adjudication process (AAA filing fee, AAA administrative costs, AAA arbitrator fees and costs) are paid by the USOC. USADA pays all administrative costs relating to the testing and results management of the athlete's sample, including the USADA review process. The athlete pays for all of his/her defense costs, such as travel, legal fees and expert witness costs.

Q: Does the IF have a role in the adjudication process?
A: The IF receives notice of all steps in the process after a decision to move forward with a case has been made. The IF is invited to appear as a party or observer at the AAA/CAS hearing and has the right of appeal under the WADA Code.

Q: If the IF conducts the test, does USADA adjudicate the positive results or other rules violations?
A: In most cases, USADA adjudicates cases involving anti-doping rule violations forwarded by the IF. No matter where the test is conducted, if the IF refers the matter to the athlete’s NGB, then USADA adjudicates the case.

Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE)


For a complete list of TUE FAQs, visit the TUEs and Medical Declarations section.