Expansion beyond reason: WADA surveillance and sanction should not concern itself with non-sporting social issues and public health

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Coomber, R
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2013
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Abstract

The question of whether WADA should remove acknowledged non-performance enhancing drugs that are also controlled drugs in the non-sporting world, such as cannabis, from its banned substances list, and thus from its remit is an important one. It is important because it helps define the parameters of what organisations such as WADA ought to be concerned with and it is important because it provides an illustration of how concerns around drug use and doping are often far more than a simple concern for the health of individuals but are also in fact complexly wrapped up in issues of morality and the governance of populations. The two papers that contest the question are in fact not too far apart in reality. Both provide an excellent case for why WADA's current justification and rationale for the inclusion of drugs such as cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy in its banned list does not hold up to scrutiny, is contradictory and based on weak argumentation – particularly when invoking WADAs criterion of violation of the ‘spirit of sport’. Where the papers differ is in their respective positioning on how WADA should resolve what is in reality a serious and indefensible dilemma. Waddington, Christiansen, Gleaves, Hoberman, and Møller (2013) argue that WADA has no jurisdiction over the private and personal activities of sports people, should refrain from attempting to do so in this regard and should remove the substances in question from their remit whereas Henne, Koh, and McDermott (2013) argue that a more refined understanding and articulation of the health concerns relating to these substances both justifies WADA inclusion and would substantiate their inclusion on the grounds of health risk alone. For Henne et al. (arguably in contradiction to the tenor of the rest of their paper) it is about tightening up the logic and justification to fit the existing policy whilst for Waddington et al. it is about showing how both the policy and its rationale are misplaced and should be abandoned.

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Performance Enhancement & Health

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2

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2

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Sports science and exercise

Criminology not elsewhere classified

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