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Report draws attention to organised crime and the use of performance and image enhancing drugs in sport


Lausanne, Switzerland, May 2, 2013 – The Australian Crime Commission (ACC) has published a report highlighting the existence of a complex supply and distribution network of Performance and Image Enhancing Drugs (PIEDs) and the detection of new forms of PIEDs known as peptide and hormones.

While the market is not as broad as it is with methylamphetamines, cocaine or heroin, PIEDs have the potential to harm a broader community as not only athletes are involved. The report cited evidence of athletic support staff, organised criminal groups and complicit doctors working to provide these substances to athletes. The network has grown over the past few years to satisfy the high demand for anabolic steroids, peptides and hormones.

For the moment the codes of conduct used by sports governing bodies are in place to ensure that players conform to relevant rules and expected behaviours. However, the status of contractors and consultants remains unclear.

The ACC has warned of the high level of vulnerability for the sporting industry given the interconnections among individuals within and across professional sports.

The report also indicated that the National Anti-Doping Agency of Australia (ASADA) have detected the use of peptides and hormones among professional and amateur athletes as well as body builders. They identified five types of peptides and hormone substances:

- Growth hormones releasing peptides: The substances stimulate the level of human growth hormones and promote muscle growth. It is also used in combination with anabolic steroids to maintain muscle gain.
- Growth hormone variants: Fat burning properties used to increase power.
- Selective androgen receptor modulators:  Use to develop bone and muscle growth.
- Insulin like growth factor: Used to facilitate the development of cartilage and bone.
- Mechano growth factor: Assists tissue repair and adaptation.

These PIEDs provide similar effects to anabolic steroids and are more attractive to athletes because they are undetectable, as it metabolises rapidly. These substances – sold as a transdermal cream or in a solution for injections – were initially only used by elite level athletes because of the cost. However they are now being used by athletes competing at various levels of competition and are relatively easy to obtain from medical practitioners and anti-aging clinics.

Some sports scientists, coaches and doctors are experimenting on athletes to determine if this particular substance can improve performance without being detected.

The FIVB Medical Commission would like to draw the attention of athletes and their entourage to full report on Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport which can be downloaded here.


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