Sir Craig Reedie, the president of the World Anti Doping Agency, has called on world governments to criminalize doping. Reedie said acting in this way would play an important role to prevent current problems that are escalating and spilling over into everyday society.

In a WADA statement, Reedie requested for an escalation of preventative measures and said sport is now a hugely lucrative industry, and there is a real area of concern with drugs being counterfeited, illegally produced, trafficked, and distributed – and ultimately these drugs get in the hands of elite athletes and, increasingly, members of the public. He further added police will act and the scourge of doping can be prevented if governments can introduce relevant laws, and applicable penalties to combat this abuse of substances.

Reedie and WADA Director General David Howman were part of the Second International Conference on the Pharmaceutical Industry and the Fight against Doping last week that was co-hosted by the World Anti Doping Agency, as well as by others including UNESCO, the Japanese Ministry of Education, Sports, Science & Technology, and the Japan Anti-Doping Agency (JADA).

The WADA head also remarked there should be exchange of information between various organizations to ensure details gathered in one country can be of use to another. He remarked evidence is rife that athletes will go to unthinkable lengths to find shortcuts to success, and it’s now up to proponents of clean sport – be they anti-doping organizations, governments, public health organizations or even law enforcement agencies – to share information that stops prohibited substances from getting in the wrong hands.

Reedie also remarked doping substances are no longer just of use to elite athletes, but to high school students who want to increase their strength or the older generations who long for the ‘fountain of youth.’ He also said these types of substances are not approved and they have not gone through the required health checks and to put simply, we do not always know from where these dubious substances originate. The WADA chief added the internet means that these substances are increasingly easy to access, and that in itself is a concern and also remarked however the danger that these substances pose to public health has, in the partnerships the anti-doping community and pharmaceutical industry are now forming, a real answer in place.

Reedie also outlined the importance of the current cooperation between WADA and other anti-doping bodies along with big drug companies. In the past, these kinds of associations have benefited the UCI, the world governing body of cycling, and others to detect new products like the blood booster CERA. During the 2008 Tour de France, the UCI was able to identify Riccardo Ricco, Stefan Schumacher, and others for CERA use. The WADA chief said this kind of collaboration is essential and gave references about the former partnerships already in place with companies such as Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Roche and Amgen, as well as federations like the IFPMA [International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations].

Some countries such as France, Spain, and Italy have already criminalized the abuse of doping products. The World Anti Doping Agency is not seeking to criminalize doping athletes themselves, but rather those who facilitate their drug use.

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