From January 1 2021, substances such as cocaine, heroin, MDMA and cannabis will be classified as ‘Substances of Abuse’ as WADA recognizes they can be taken out-of-competition for reasons unrelated to sports performance. These drugs currently carry a four-year ban but if an athlete can prove that their use occurred out-of-competition and was unrelated to sports performance, their ban will now be reduced to three months with no need to further analyze the degree of fault.
The athlete’s ban can be reduced by a further month if they are willing to undertake a treatment program that is approved by their national anti-doping body. If the drug is taken in-competition but the athlete can prove the use was unrelated to performance, a two-year ban will be handed out as the infringement will be considered non-intentional.
WADA has made these changes in the interest of athlete welfare. A spokesperson told Cycling Weekly, “It was felt that the use of these drugs was often unrelated to sport performance. It was felt also that in cases where an athlete has a drug problem and is not seeking or benefitting from performance enhancement, the priority should be on the athlete’s health rather than on imposing…
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