In sport, athletes assume strict liability for every substance they ingest, so they have to be very aware of the ingredients in the products they use, including their medications and supplements. It’s especially important for athletes to be aware of the risks associated with supplements because the contents aren’t confirmed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), meaning that undeclared substances, anabolic steroids, or illegal stimulants can be present in supplements regardless of what the product label lists.
With this in mind, USADA has created a variety of resources to help athletes protect their health and minimize their risk of testing positive for a prohibited substance.
- Supplement High Risk List
Compiled by USADA, the High Risk List is a list of dietary supplements and other black market products that have been known to contain prohibited substances, or claim to deliver the same performance-enhancing effects as prohibited substances. The list also includes products that USADA has previously tested to confirm the presence of a prohibited substance. Similarly, USADA adds supplements to the High Risk List when the Court of Arbitration for Sport has determined that a supplement likely caused a positive test for an athlete.When referring to the High Risk List, it’s really important to realize that the list is not exhaustive and that the absence of a product on the list doesn’t mean the supplement is safe. With more loosely regulated supplements added to the market every day, it’s difficult to develop a truly comprehensive list of supplements that could cause an athlete to test positive for a prohibited substance. Because of the prevalence of supplement contamination, it’s often safer to satisfy nutritional needs through proper diet, sleep, and recovery programs.
- Global DRO
To help athletes determine if their medications contain prohibited substances or if they are safe to use, USADA also partnered with anti-doping agencies around the world to develop the Global Drug Reference Online (Global DRO). Global DRO allows athletes and support personnel to search specific medications and ingredients to see if they are prohibited in-competition, out-of-competition, or at all times based on the current World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Prohibited List.This online resource contains information on products sold in Australia, the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, and Japan. Focused primarily on medications and ingredients, Global DRO does not contain information that applies to dietary supplements.
- Drug Reference Phone Line
After checking the High Risk List and searching Global DRO, athletes can also utilize USADA’s Drug Reference Phone Line to reach an expert at USADA with additional questions about the prohibited status of substances and the therapeutic use exemption (TUE) process.Athletes can reach a friendly expert Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. MST, at 719-785-2000 x 2.
By utilizing these resources, athletes can more easily avoid substances that are prohibited in sport, protect their reputations, and help ensure that all athletes have access to a level playing field.