Considering Harm Reduction as the Future of Doping Control Policy in International Sport

Considering Harm Reduction as the Future of Doping Control Policy in International Sport / Ken Kirkwood. - (Quest 61 (2012) 2 (14 February); p. 180-190)

  • DOI: 10.1080/00336297.2009.10483609


Since the 1960s, major international sporting organizations enforced a prohibition on performance-enhancing drugs. The scope of this enforcement expanded to the current system regulated by the World Anti-Doping Agency. Although the sophistication of the detective sciences and the comprehensive enforcement of these prohibitions have improved over time, supporters of the ban on drug use in sport still struggle with 3 issues: Doping is still quite common; the ability to detect established drugs have driven users to newer, more experimental substances; and the prohibition policy lacks sufficient moral justifications. This article suggests that the debate over doping has bifurcated between those who continue to support antidoping measures with insufficient ethical grounds and those who would potentially permit the unregulated use of performance-enhancement technologies in sport because of insufficient justifications for prohibition. A third way, posed herein, suggests the most ethically defensible policy is a harm-reduction approach.

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14 February 2012
Kirkwood, Ken
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21 July 2020
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29 November 2021
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