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Drugs in sport

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An Australian study found certain elite athletes were more at risk of taking drugs than others. Lee Morley/Flickr

Sports stars do take drugs – but not as much as the rest of us

Our study found that 8% of the 1,684 elite Australian athletes we surveyed said they had used at least one of six illicit drugs – including ecstasy, cocaine and cocaine – over the previous year.
Gold Coast Titan Greg Bird could face action by WADA on top of court charges stemming from drug supply allegations. AAP/Dave Hunt

Illicit drugs: Australian sports intervene while WADA spectates

The World Anti-Doping Authority looks on from the sidelines in case there is an opportunity to punish athletes' involvement with illicit drugs out of competition.
Rugby union star Karmichael Hunt has been stood down by his club pending a court appearance on drug supply charges. AAP/Dan Peled

Being great at sport does not come with good moral judgement

There is a tension between views of players’ rights under employment contracts and their responsibilities – both ethically and contractually
Alex Rodriguez is back on the Yankees' roster following his one-year suspension for using banned performance enhancing drugs. Reuters

A-Rod may get his millions but his future remains murky

Alex Rodriguez, the New York Yankees’ erstwhile third baseman, has had an interesting career in more ways than one. His use of steroids has resulted in a sullied reputation and a one-year suspension without…
Australian sport has been in a so-called ‘crisis’ since 2013, but what is the best way address it? AAP/Lukas Coch

Are we doing enough to promote integrity in sport?

The “crisis” in Australian sport in 2013 prompted calls for change to rebuild integrity and public trust. But while beefing up policing and instituting harsher penalties seems to be a natural reaction…
It’s like putting a V8 engine in your heart – it’s not built to be sped up at that rate. Image from

Health warning about body-sculpting drug clenbuterol

The growing number of Australians illicitly using the drug clenbuterol to lose weight and build muscle mass are putting themselves…
What’s changed since the ACC report was handed down? Flickr/ hitthatswitch

One year on – the real doping scandals of 2013

A year after the “darkest day in Australian sport” the catastrophic bang has led to an all too predictable whimper. The days after the Australian Crime Commission’s report Organised Crime and Drugs in…
Many more Australians want to build the ‘body beautiful’ and we want to do it in a hurry, increasingly through the use of performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs). shutterstock

Muscling up: are steroids an emerging criminal threat?

High-profile claims of links between elite sports and organised crime in Australia – such as those outlined in last year’s Australian Crime Commission (ACC) report – have put performance and image enhancing…
The Essendon supplements scandal that has enveloped the current AFL season has created the narrative of villains and heroes. Is it a sports marketers' dream? AAP/Julian Smith

Marketing sport: villains and heroes in AFL brand narratives

This season, some sports commentators and footy fans have argued that the investigation into the supplements regime at Essendon has brought the club, the AFL and “the code” to their knees. From a branding…
The devotion of Essendon fans towards their coach and club legend James Hird - despite his involvement in the club’s supplements saga - can be easily explained away. AAP/Julian Smith

Understanding the ‘cult’ of James Hird

It’s times like these when we get to see just how much sports like Australian rules football shape the thoughts and dreams of so many Australians. Not only has the Essendon drugs scandal dominated much…
It looks likely to be lawyers at ten paces as Essendon and the AFL head to court over the supplements scandal. AAP/Julian Smith

Essendon vs the AFL: what are the legal issues?

The only real winners in the whole Essendon drug supplement saga are set to be the lawyers. With all parties “lawyering up” and multiple court actions either under way or threatened, legal eagles will…
The alleged “supplements program” at Essendon Football club raises many questions. David Crosling/AAP

Supplementary reading: why was there no red flag at Essendon?

The notice of charges by the AFL against Essendon Football Club has been published, and we have dealt elsewhere with some of the facts of the matter. But some harder questions remain. What does this list…
Dr Frankenstein created a beast of horrifying power; Essendon just created a shambles. Image from

Frankenfooty: Essendon’s mixed bag of supplements

The list of charges by the AFL against the Essendon Football Club for its alleged supplements program makes for compelling reading. Early on in the Essendon charge sheet is this paragraph, which sets the…
Essendon coach James Hird, along with his club and three other senior officials, have been charged by the AFL over the supplements saga. AAP Image/Julian Smith

The Essendon supplements saga: what you don’t know can hurt you

The idiom “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” usually means the less you know about the possible risks and harms that can befall you, the less likely you are to worry yourself sick about them. The recently…
Anti-doping is about protecting the integrity of sport, but what about the people? ĐāżŦ {mostly absent}

AFL, NRL – it’s time to move on from anti-doping

With the AFL and NRL “doping scandals” grinding on it seems there’s no end in sight to this saga. But there should be – and soon. Anti-doping will never work and should be replaced with a different approach…
Essendon coach James Hird outside his home on August 14, 2013 after the AFL charged him and four other club officials for bringing the game into disrepute over the alleged banned supplements scandal. Julian Smith/AAP

Human experimentation and ethics at Essendon Football Club

The news that the AFL has charged James Hird, and other members of the Essendon Football Club’s management staff (including the club doctor, Bruce Reid) with bringing the sport into disrepute should surprise…
Catching all dopers would be an expensive exercise, running into tens of millions of dollars. EPA/Dominic Favre

Exposing dopers in sport: is it really worth the cost?

On the back of an interim report by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) into the Essendon Football Club’s controversial supplements program in 2011-12, the AFL last night charged the club…
WorkSafe Victoria has chosen not to investigate events at the Essendon Football Club. AAP Image/Joe Castro

Time for OHS regulators to get off the bench and into the game

Imagine a construction company asks its employees to take some health supplements to increase their stamina, thereby enabling them to work more productively. Imagine that the efficacy and legality of the…

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