Leading social scientists meet at Victoria University this week to debate alternative approaches to drugs in sport.
The Drugs in Sport Colloquium this Thursday and Friday gathers experts from more than 10 universities to assess current drug control programs and review the operations of key governing, testing and enforcement bodies.
Victoria University drugs-in-sport expert and event organiser Associate Professor Bob Stewart said a major hurdle in moving forward was confusion on the pros and cons of each approach.
"Australia is at the critical period in how it understands and responds to the issue of drugs in sport," Associate Professor Stewart said.
"Given the policy inertia around anti-doping it's time we put all options on the table and look at what might actually work – everything from zero tolerance of substance use in sport (including pain killing injections) to changing the structure of sport to reduce the risk of doping."
He said there needed to be more clarity on the weight given to fairness and equity, integrity and brand protection, health and welfare, human rights, and the allocation of resources needed to manage the issue.
The closed discussions will cover the state of Australian research on drugs in sport, current industry testing and regulating practices and how to make alternatives work.
"After weighing these up we'll be in a better position to make a statement on the way forward," he said.
Available for interview:
Associate Professor Bob Stewart, Researcher
College of Sport and Exercise Science, Victoria University
(03) 9919 4350; 0407 564 471; [email protected]
Michael Quin, Research writer
Public Affairs Department, Victoria University
(03) 9919 9491; 0431 815 409; [email protected]