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Is doping on the rise among amateur athletes?



-By Scott Leitch

Officials in the UK are making noise over a growing number of amateur athletes in the country turning to performance enhancing drugs.

Numbers in the country have shown an increase in the number of failed tests for performance enhancing drugs, something the UK Anti-Doping organization is trying to combat.

Although numbers of failed drug tests may be on the rise in the UK, numbers in Canada don’t seem to show any notable upward trend. The Canadian Centre of Ethics in Sport tracks the number of failed tests they conduct in amateur sports each year. Since 2008, the numbers have been as follows: 24, 16, 20, 19, 24, 30 and, in 2014, 13. The failed tests in 2012 and 2013 were high, with 24 and 30, though there were also 24 failed tests in 2008. In addition to this, most of the tests amateur athletes in Canada fail are for recreational drugs, largely marijuana with some positive results for cocain.

A recent article in The Independent notes that UKAD plans to being more testing at recreational events such as road races, something Canadians may also see more of in years ahead. The most recent winner of the Calgary Marathon tested positive for a banned substance, prompting organizers of the event to state they will introduce testing for those finishing towards the front in coming years. As prize money at smaller, local events grows and doping authorities struggle to keep up, more people will feel compelled to use performance enhancing drugs.