July 18, 2012
USADA announced today that Mark Fletcher of Atlanta, Ga., an athlete in the sport of Judo, has tested positive for a prohibited substance and accepted a suspension for his doping offense.
Fletcher, 32, tested positive for tetrahydrocannabinol acid, a marijuana metabolite in the class of Cannabinoids, in a sample collected on May 11, 2012 at the World Cup in Miami, Fla. Cannabinoids are prohibited under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing and the International Judo Federation (IJF) Anti-Doping Rules, both of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code and the WADA Prohibited List. Cannabinoids are listed as Specified Substances, and therefore the presence of those substances in an athlete’s sample can result in a reduced sanction.
Fletcher accepted a three-month period of ineligibility, which began on June 15, 2012, the day he accepted a provisional sanction. The period of ineligibility will be suspended and reduced to time served, upon his successful completion of a USADA anti-doping educational program.
As a result of the doping violation, Fletcher has been disqualified from his competitive results achieved on May 11, 2012, the day his sample was collected, through and including the date he completes the doping education program, including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes.
In an effort to aid athletes, as well as all support team members such as parents and coaches, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on its website on the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. In addition, the agency manages a drug reference hotline, Drug Reference Online (www.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, periodic newsletters, and protocol and policy reference documentation.
USADA is responsible for the testing and results management process for athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement, and is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs.