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J Sports Sci. 2008 Aug;26(10):1059-65. doi: 10.1080/02640410801910293.

Determination of the prevalence of anabolic steroids, stimulants, and selected drugs subject to doping controls among elite sport students using analytical chemistry.

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Centre for Preventive Doping Research, Institute of Biochemistry, German Sport University, Cologne, Germany.


Drug abuse by adolescents has been investigated in various surveys that reported correlations between age, gender, and activity. However, none of these studies included chemical analyses to help substantiate the statements of participants. In the present study, the urine specimens of 964 students (439 females, 525 males; mean age 22.1 years, s = 1.7), who applied to study sports sciences at university, were assessed for anabolic steroids, stimulants, and selected drugs prohibited in sports. In total, 11.2% of the urine specimens provided contained drugs covered by doping controls. The most frequently detected compound was the major metabolite of tetrahydrocannabinol (9.8%) followed by various stimulants related to amphetamine and cocaine (1.0%). Indications of anabolic steroid use were found in 0.4% of urine samples but originated from contraceptives containing norethisterone. The present study provided unambiguous data on the status quo of drug (ab)use by adolescents hoping for a career related to elite sport or sports sciences. No use of anabolic steroids was detected. However, evidence for stimulants and tetrahydrocannabinol administration was obtained, although not reported by any participant, which highlights the issue of under-reporting in surveys based solely on questionnaires.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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