Olympic Doping – A List of Banned Substances Athletes Must Avoid

Asheville drug and alcohol treatment centerAthletes are strong, fast and competitive. There are even some that many of us at our Asheville drug and alcohol treatment center look up to. Unfortunately, doping is a serious problem within the athletic world.

Believe it or not, those competing for Olympic medals also use drugs to increase their ability. While many drugs have been banned, there are some that can still be used.

Just this summer, competitors at the 2016 Rio Olympics were in the news for using banned drugs. Mack Horton, a swimmer from Australia, publicly called out fellow swimmer Sun Yang from China for taking a banned drug. He was suspended for three months for using. Also, Russian swimmer Yulia Efimova has been labeled a user of banned drugs as well.

Below, you will find a list of the most commonly used drugs that were detected before they were banned from being used. If you've got an addiction problem, call Legacy Freedom. We're the top Asheville drug and alcohol treatment center in Western NC.


This drug is used to enhance performance. However, in the early 1930s it was used to treat men who had low testosterone. Because this drug increases this male hormone, it also works to help build muscle and strength. Athletes who use this drug are able to recover quickly, compete at max capacity and endure extensive training. Without the drugs, the athletes would not be able to work as hard or recover as quickly.

There have been a few gold medalists over the years who have been stripped of their wins because steroids were found in their system after the competition. Canadian runner Ben Johnson was one of those. In 1988 they found drugs in his system that increased testosterone levels.

Blood Doping

Athletes need large amounts of oxygen in order for their muscles to function properly. When the oxygen in our blood is increased, endurance levels are higher. A natural way of increasing oxygen in the blood is by altitude training. High altitudes have less oxygen. Athletes can train in the high altitude and improve the concentration of oxygen within their blood. However, a quicker way, discovered in the 1970s, was found by having the athlete donate their own blood several months before a competition, storing it and then re-infusing it right before their competition.

As the years went on, a synthetic oxygen inducing drug was discovered. Erythropoietin matches natural hormones very closely. Because of that, this drug is hard to detect in athletes. Even more, it completely disappears from our systems within a few days.

In the 2000 Australian Olympics, a test was derived that would allow officials to detect the drug in urine. They also learned that looking at blood markers through blood samples works as well. There are abnormalities in indirect markers when athletes have been blood doping.

Masking Agents

According to abc.net, "WADA has banned a series of drugs they call masking agents, which make other banned drugs harder to detect. Some masking agents act by stopping particular drug products forming in the urine. Plasma expanders work by increasing the volume of blood, which hides erythropoietin or other red blood cell boosters."

In this category of drugs, you'll also find diuretics. This drug will increase urine production and potentially dilute drugs in the system.

Diuretics cause quick weight loss and provide an advantage for athletes that compete in weight classes when they need to drop pounds to fit into a different class.


These drugs are used to relax muscles of the bronchial tubes. Those that are asthmatic use them when having an attack. While athletes who have asthma are allowed to use these drugs in the form of inhalers, but taking them early offers different effects. It keeps the muscles from breaking down and allows him to work double time. They are able to build more muscle in a shorter amount of time. They do not experience muscle fatigue as often. This is why the oral form of Beta-2 antagonists are banned.


With the ability to increase energy, focus and attention, athletes that take stimulants have an advantage over those who do not. These drugs offer athletes a boost in endurance. For example, a runner taking stimulants before a competition can run faster, harder and a longer distance than one who avoids taking the drug. There's a psychological advantage that comes into play when stimulants are used.

Drug Testing Athletes

Asheville Drug and Alcohol Treatment CenterAccording to drug.com, "Athletic drug testing is done to detect banned substances or performance enhancing agents in competitive-level athletes. In the U.S, drug testing may occur in Olympic-level sports, National Collegiate Athletic Association sports (NCAA), and professional sports. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) is the national anti-doping organization for the Olympic movement in the United States. With the USADA, as noted in the WADA code, testing may occur in competition or out of competition and can occur at any time and at any location."

Those athletes that are tested with positive results for banned drugs in their system can be sanctioned, stripped of world titles, medals and disqualified.

One particular instance in recent sports news, professional cyclist Lance Armstrong was stripped of his titles and awards due to his use of drugs when he was competing.

Below, you'll find a recap of the drugs listed above, as well as those that are only prohibited in competition sports.

Drugs Completely Banned from the Sports Industry

  • Anabolic Agents
  • Beta-2 Agonists
  • Diuretics and Other Masking Agents
  • Hormone and Metabolic Modulators
  • Non-approved Substances
  • Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors and Related Substances

Drugs Prohibited in Competitions

  • Cannabinoids
  • Glucocorticosteroids
  • Narcotics
  • Stimulants

Using substances to enhance performance is not only unfair to the competition who aren't using but also dangerous for health reasons. The drugs listed above can be detrimental to your well being. Even those drugs that are prescribed by a doctor can be harmful if used in a way that wasn't intended.

If you're using drugs and can't stop, consider contacting Legacy Freedom. We are here to help you with your addiction.

Affordable Asheville Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center - Legacy Freedom

If you’re suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction and need help consider Legacy Freedom’s alternative Asheville drug and alcohol treatment center. Our success rate is higher than traditional rehab facilities that require you to stay in-house until the program is complete. We know how hard it is to beat addiction. That’s why we’ve come up with a better, more successful program that will help.  Addiction can leave you feeling sad, lonely, and angry. You are not alone. Legacy Freedom is here to help you get back on track to a happier, healthy, drug free life.

Comments are closed.