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Int J Sports Med. 2003 Nov;24(8):565-70.

The prevalence of doping in Flanders in comparison to the prevalence of doping in international sports.

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Doping Control Laboratory, University of Ghent, Salisburylaan 133, Merelbeke, Belgium.


For many years, doping has been considered a major problem in sports. Recent doping cases have shocked the general public and press reports have further generated the idea that a great number of athletes are doped. In this study statistical data provided by the International Olympic Committee (1996 - 2000) to IOC accredited laboratories and results from the Flemish anti-doping program (1993 - 2000) are discussed. During these periods, the average percentage positive samples in the IOC accredited laboratories and in Flanders were 1.8 % and 4.1 %, respectively. The percentage of positive samples was significantly higher for in-competition than for out-of-competition samples. During the period 1993 - 2000, doping was detected in all sports in Flanders, for which a representative number of samples (n > 50) was tested except mini-soccer, where no positive doping samples were found. The use of doping among male athletes is significantly higher than for female athletes. Bodybuilding and power lifting had the highest incidence of positive cases in Flanders. The distribution of detected drugs among the different groups of prohibited substances shows a significant increase in the number of samples containing cannabis over the last years. The occurrence of cannabis in all sports and the high frequency of detection in Flanders, indicate that cannabis is predominantly misused as a "social" drug rather than for doping purposes. In Flanders, multiple prohibited substances were detected in 41 % of all positive cases. At least 27.6 % out of those were due to co-administration of drugs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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