“The service provided by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency at our World Championships in Aurora, Colorado was nothing short of exceptional – from our initial request to receive a proposal, to sample collection and results management – all services were conducted in a thorough and professional manner – simply perfect! As an organization, we were quite pleased with the outcome and will use USADA’s services each time we have a World Championship in the United States. Thank you! – Robert Keller, Secretary General, International Powerlifting FederationIf you’re interested in implementing or adopting world-class anti-doping programs, services, or resources, we can help. USADA is a signatory to the World Anti-Doping Agency Code (WADA Code) and fully complies with the WADA Code and International Standards. Our anti-doping program includes comprehensive policies & procedures and a trained staff that includes qualified doping control and blood collection officers with decades of collective professional experience. USADA’s anti-doping program is often regarded as the gold standard in anti-doping globally, and at the forefront of the fight for clean competition. We welcome the opportunity to work with those interested in preserving the integrity of competition and protecting the rights of clean athletes. If you share our commitment to clean competition, please read further about our services and use the contact information to the right to discuss a program proposal.
Event / Contract Testing Services
Education is an extremely important pillar of an effective anti-doping program and is the first line of defense in protecting the rights of clean athletes. Prior to any sample collection or testing, USADA provides extensive anti-doping education to thousands of athletes each year and can make available its educational tools, resources, and dedicated education team to organizations looking for contract testing services. Education helps athletes and support personnel understand the goal of providing fair and honest competition, their rights and responsibilities in regards to drug testing, what to expect from the drug testing process, and the role they play in protecting clean sport. Topics include prohibited substances, sample collection process details, including what to expect during a urine or blood test, how and if it is necessary to apply for permission to take a prohibited substance for medical treatment (therapeutic use exemption), dietary supplement education, whereabouts information (out-of-competition testing programs), and the results notification process.
USADA can deliver its anti-doping education and athlete resources in a number of ways: in-person education training and presentations; on-site informational booths to promote clean sport and the USADA-event organizer partnership; webinars for general and select audiences; online, interactive tutorials; and numerous brochures, pamphlets, educational packets, online downloads and links.
USADA can also provide guidance to other organizations on best practices for implementing athlete education programs, focusing on the sample collection process, whereabouts requirements, therapeutic use exemptions, the Prohibited List, dietary supplements, and important ethical and health concerns associated with the use of performance-enhancing drugs and methods.
This is what most often comes to mind when thinking about drug testing. It’s the collection of an athlete’s blood and/or urine sample at an event (or out-of-competition location) and securing its shipment to the laboratory. It is certainly one of the most important pieces of an effective anti-doping program, and there are a number of procedural components, all of which contribute to the overall effectiveness of the program. USADA’s sample collection processes are fully compliant with the World Anti-Doping Code and the WADA International Standard for Testing and Investigations.
USADA’s sample collection process includes 4 main facets:
1. Test Distribution Planning: USADA works with events of all shapes, sizes, and budgets to determine the most effective test distribution plan, which includes:
- The number of tests to be collected
- The athletes who will be tested
- When testing will occur
- The type of sample collection – blood, urine, or both
- Any special analysis of the sample collections that may be required (i.e. hGH, CIR, or IRMS detection methods)
2. Doping Control Officers (DCOs): USADA’s DCOs are highly-trained employees that conduct the sample collection process in a professional way that ensures the integrity and security of the sample while protecting the health and safety of the athlete. USADA has more than 50 DCOs stationed throughout the United States who have been trained and are employed directly by USADA (not a third party agency). USADA’s DCOs receive extensive training, evaluation, and feedback, and are well experienced in both event and out-of-competition testing.
USADA also provides comprehensive DCO training programs including in-field training, curriculum instruction and certification processes, and best practices for adhering to the policies and guidelines outlined in the International Standard for Testing.
3. Event Management: USADA’s office staff and DCOs will work directly with event organizers to ensure the sample collection process runs smoothly at an event. USADA will also work to help events and organizers with their minimal requirements, including securing a proper doping control station, obtaining necessary materials such as fluids for athletes, and ensuring any necessary needed personnel or volunteers are available.
Any contract testing provided by USADA is conducted under the WADA Code provisions, and the WADA Prohibited List of Substances and Methods. This list provides the comprehensive categorization and itemization of the substances and methods that are prohibited at all times, only in-competition, or only in specific sports, and for which USADA tests the samples that it collects.
USADA’s Doping Control Officers ensure accurate and prompt shipment of samples to a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory, ensuring the integrity of the sample is maintained and proper chain of custody is recorded throughout the shipment. All athlete samples are analyzed at WADA accredited laboratories, not USADA, which ensures an additional level of independence and objectivity in determining the results of an athlete’s sample, and are subject to special analysis including hGH, CIR and IRMS detection methods. All lab results are sent to the results management authority for the sample collection and uploaded directly by the lab to the WADA Anti-Doping Administration & Management System (ADAMS). All WADA laboratorie adhere to the WADA International Standard for Laboratories.
Learn more about WADA accredited and approved laboratories by clicking the map below.
USADA can provide results management and adjudication services consistent with the World Anti-Doping (WADA) Code and the WADA International Standard for Protection of Privacy and Personal Information. In addition to notifying athletes, WADA, and the appropriate related organizations of test results, USADA provides an avenue for anti-doping rule violations to be adjudicated through a fair and transparent legal process which includes an athlete’s right to have his or her case argued before independent judges from the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and/or the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). The service provides independence, and removes conflicts of interest and the responsibility for event organizers and sport federations in sanctioning athletes. As a WADA Code signatory, sanctions issued by USADA, or independent AAA or CAS arbitration panels, are recognized by the more than 600 sport governing bodies and organizations which are also signatories of the WADA Code. Click the button below to learn more about USADA’s results management process.
As a signatory to the World Anti-Doping (WADA) Code, USADA provides athletes with an avenue to apply for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) or medical exemption for a prohibited substance through a process that is compliant with both the WADA Code and the WADA International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions (ISTUE). This process allows athletes to obtain permission to have a prohibited substance in their system at the time of a drug test, with proper medical evidence of the need for the substance.
As the national anti-doping agency for Olympic and Paralympic sport in the U.S., USADA has been processing TUE applications since the WADA Code’s inception in 2004, and has made the process as simple as possible for athletes. With that said, USADA’s TUE policy is thorough and requires appropriate medical documentation, takes into account an athlete’s unique medical situation, and considers other factors including availability of other, non-prohibited medications.
The policy, along with WADA’s ISTUE, balances the necessity for athletes to have access to important medication while ensuring clean athletes the right to compete on a clean and level playing field. Click the button below to learn more about therapeutic use exemptions.
An important part of USADA’s testing program is the ability to test athletes without any advance notice in an out-of-competition setting. Athletes included in USADA’s Whereabouts program are subject to testing 365 days a year and do not have “off-seasons” or cut-off periods in which testing does not occur. These athletes are required to submit whereabouts information (dates, times, locations, etc.), which allows the athlete to be located for out-of-competition testing.
USADA can oversee a whereabouts program, which includes notifying athletes of their inclusion in the program, the collection of whereabouts information, and the continuous communication of important anti-doping information directly to the athlete. For more information on the USADA Whereabouts program, click here.
USADA makes available a number of drug reference resources for athletes, beyond general education, that can assist athletes and their support personnel with medical related questions. It’s team of scientists, pharmacy, and supplements advisers have the experience and expertise to assist with questions ranging from prohibited medications, to therapeutics use exemptions, to dietary supplement safety.
Global DRO: The Global Drug Reference Online (or Global DRO), allows athletes, parents, coaches, support personnel, or anyone else the ability to search for the “prohibited” or “not-prohibited” status of medications including specific and generic brand names as well as individual medical ingredients. An athlete for example could type “ibuprofen” or even see results specifically for “Advil Cold and Sinus 200mg-30mg Liqui-Gel Capsule” The results display the status of substances by in-competition or out-of-competition status, and provides information related to threshold substances. Global DRO is also sport specific, for those substances prohibited only in certain sports, and contracted sports can be added to the resource. Global DRO is used internationally by the national anti-doping agencies of Australia, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, the UK, and medical information for those countries is also available. To visit Global DRO, please click here.
Drug Reference Phone Line: USADA’s Athlete Express service allows athletes and support personnel to speak with an expert regarding a host of topics related to medications and prohibited substances. USADA’s drug reference phone line is staffed during business hours (Monday-Friday, 8am-5pm, Mountain Time.) For information about USADA’s drug reference phone line, please click here.