Australia report says drug use 'widespread'
By James Grubel ,ReutersCANBERRA -- The use of performance enhancing drugs is “widespread” among professional and amateur athletes in Australia, a government report which rocked the sports-mad country said on Thursday.
February 8, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
Australia is proud of its reputation as a nation that plays fair and the report's findings were explosive with one former head of the national anti-doping agency describing it as the “blackest day” in the country's sporting history.
The report was the result of a one-year probe by Australia's leading criminal intelligence organisation into the use of drugs, both performance-enhancing and recreational, as well as the association of organized crime with the trade.
“The findings are shocking and they will disgust Australian sports fans,” Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said at a news conference.
“(It) has found the use of substances, including peptides, hormones and illicit drugs, is widespread amongst professional athletes.
“We are talking about multiple athletes across a number of codes. We're talking about a number of teams.
“The findings indicate the drugs are being facilitated by sports scientists, coaches, support staff as well as doctors and pharmacists.
“In some cases, sports scientists and others are orchestrating the doping of entire teams. In some cases, players are being administered substances which have not yet been approved for human use.”
The report said that organized crime was involved in the distribution of the drugs, which exposes players to the possibility of being co-opted into match-fixing, Clare added.