Elite athletes may have little to fear from the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) as doping in sports persists unabated. However, ordinary people should be afraid of how WADA’s increasing influence in national policy affects them.
The United States Government recently mandated that a sports nutrition company comply with aspects of the WADA Prohibited List as part of a criminal plea agreement.
The government did not simply require that the company produce dietary supplements compliant with the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), the Anabolic Steroid Control Acts or any other relevant local, state and federal laws affecting the dietary supplement industry. The United States felt it necessary to incorporate a moral agenda above and beyond existing law into the plea agreement.
WADA supposedly exists to keep athletes in sports from doping. However, WADA’s dangerous influence threatens to influence laws that will affect tens of millions of ordinary people around the world who are not competitive athletes and have no aspirations of sports competition. They are simply individuals who are looking to feel better, to look better and to perform better with the help of supplements.
The requirement that any dietary supplement company follow the WADA code represents a disturbing trend in which WADA (and national anti-doping agencies operating under its directive) have aggressively sought to change international laws related to dietary supplements, anabolic steroids and performance-enhancing substances.
WADA has failed miserably at keeping steroids out of sports but they could have considerable success in influencing legislation affecting choice and freedom of ordinary consumers.
WADA has explicitly stated their desire for ALL national governments to criminalize the personal use of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs as defined in the WADA code – for athletes and non-athletes alike.
The UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport has a stated objective of criminalizing personal non-medical steroid use by applying the force of international law behind the anti-doping WADA code. The Convention also calls for increased regulation of dietary supplement (ideally to be compliant with the WADA Prohibited List).
The biggest problems caused by using the WADA code as the basis for international law is the fact that the overwhelming majority of dietary/sports nutrition supplement users and non-medical steroid users are NOT athletes. They are simply ordinary responsible, law-abiding adults who use these substances as a tool to feel better, to increase muscle size and strength, to reduce bodyfat, and/or to enhance physical attractiveness.
If WADA succeeds in the moralization of international laws related to dietary supplements and performance-enhancing substances, we may soon see laws that mirror the moralistic WADA Code. Non-athletes will be they ones that suffer while doping in sport continues unfettered.