13 Dec 2020
Strong stuff : the size and seriousness of the doping trade in the Netherlands / Ilse van Leiden, Marjan Olfers, Anton van Wijk, Rebecca Rijnink, Joey Wolsink, Juno van Esseveldt. - 2020
Sterk spul : aard, omvang en ernst van de dopinghandel in Nederland / Ilse van Leiden, Marjan Olfers, Anton van Wijk, Rebecca Rijnink, Joey Wolsink, Juno van Esseveldt. - Bureau Beke; Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam; i.o.v. Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport. - Arnhem : Bureau Beke, 2020. - (Beke reeks)
The use of image and performance enhancing drugs (IPEDs) for cosmetic reasons and in amateur sport has become accepted, a 224 page Report examining the size and seriousness of the doping trade in The Netherlands has highlighted. The Report found that this is in contrast to elite sport, where use of doping substances remains taboo.
The Report concludes that around 2% of the Dutch population uses or has used doping substances, and is fastest increasing amongst noncompetitive athletes who use doping substances to enhance their appearance. In addition, it found that doping is becoming accepted in recreational sport.
The Report found that elite athletes generally come into contact with doping substances through their entourage, which means that they are likely to receive guidance on usage. In contrast, cosmetic and recreational sport users do not receive guidance and gather most of their information from the internet, which puts their health at greater risk.
In elite sport, the Report found that the most common doping agents are anabolic steroids, stimulants, and hormonal and metabolic modulators. It found that there has been a decrease in the number of athletes who are prescribed substances without medical need in an attempt to boost performance since 2015. Micro doping (i.e. using substances in small amounts to avoid detection) is on the increase, as well as utilisation of experimental food (such as ketones).
More shipments of doping substances from outside the EU are being intercepted. From 2016 to 2018, customs seizures tripled with officers intercepting over 8,000 shipments involving medication, including 1,000 that contained doping substances. The most common substances intercepted were stimulants, glucocorticoids, and anabolic agents. Seizures of diuretics, masking agents, beta blockers, and hormonal and metabolic modulators are also increasing.
The Report points out that pharmaceutical companies in Eastern Europe are well known supply chains for the Dutch market. Also, it is impossible to know what substances are being imported into the country from other European Union countries, due to free trade rules. However, it did find that due to stricter regulation on doping substances in recent years, there has been a boost in Underground Laboratories (UGLs) in The Netherlands.
As well as the usual worries about the quality of substances produced in such labs being dangerous to health, the Report found that the increase in UGLs that compete with each other has led to a ‘hardening’ of the market. ‘In the Netherlands, a violent incident is already known where those involved in an UGL were extorted by new players on the market’, it reads.
Doping is not as lucrative as drug trafficking, but the Report did find that criminals are increasingly becoming involved in the doping market. This is because due to the increase in UGLs, the supply of doping substances is no longer dependant on foreign pharmacies. Products can now be produced for export where they can be sold in person or via the internet or dark web.
Doping in sport is not a criminal offence in The Netherlands. However, the Report concludes that the increased intertwining of doping with drug trafficking and the doping trade due to UGLs enabling an international market fo doping products represents a ‘serious problem’.
In de media duiken met enige regelmaat berichten op over het gebruik van doping in de sport. Niet alleen in de topsport, ook daarbuiten worden middelen gebruikt om de (sport)prestaties te vergroten. Maar wat gaat er achter het dopinggebruik en de -handel schuil?
In opdracht van het ministerie van VWS onderzochten wij samen met de Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam de aard, omvang en ernst van dopinghandel in Nederland. In ‘Sterk spul’ komen profielen van gebruikers van dopingmiddelen aan bod en welke risico’s er met het gebruik gepaard gaan. Daarnaast wordt ingegaan op de vraag hoe de handel in dopingmiddelen in elkaar steekt, hoe grootschalig deze handel is en in hoeverre er in Nederland ook dopingmiddelen worden geproduceerd. Een relevante vraag hierbij is wie er bij het produceren, verstrekken en verhandelen van dopingmiddelen betrokken zijn.