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Welcome to our list of frequently asked questions regarding banned substances and the anti-doping programme. Drug Free Sport NZ update this section from time to time as new questions arise or as policies or procedures change. If you cannot find an answer here to a question please submit the question directly to DFSNZ . We will endeavour to answer your question as soon as possible.



What is doping?

Doping is defined as the occurrence of one or more of the Anti-Doping Rule Violations (ADRV) as set out in the World Anti-Doping Code (The Code).  Doping includes the presence of a prohibited substance or markers in an athlete's sample.  The deliberate use, attempted use or inadvertent use by an athlete of a substance or method that is included on the WADA Prohibited List.  Anti-Doping Rule Violations (infractions) are defined in the World Anti-Doping Code and also include other such things as refusing a test, tampering with a sample, trafficking, possession of prohibited substances or methods assisting others to dope.

Why is doping prohibited?

Doping undermines the values and integrity of sport and can threaten an athlete's health and that of their team mates. Doping or using prohibited substances or methods to gain an advantage over other athletes is considered contrary to the spirit of sport - it is considered cheating. 

What is the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)?

WADA was established as an independent, non-governmental organization in 1999. The aim is to ensure optimal harmonisation and best practice in international and national anti-doping programs. The key activities of WADA include:
  • Conducting unannounced out-of-competition doping control among elite athletes
  • Developing the World Anti-Doping Code
  • Funding scientific research to develop new detection methods
  • Observing the doping control and results management programs of major events
  • Managing the Athlete’s Passport Program
  • Providing anti-doping education to athletes, coaches and administrators
  • Fostering the development of National Anti-Doping Organisations (NADO)

What is the World Anti-Doping Code and how will it affect me?

Important elements of the Code include:
  • All countries and sports must adopt The Code if they wish to be eligible for the Olympic Games
  • The Code provides for uniformity in:
    - testing procedures
    - sanctions
    - prohibited substances
    - laboratory procedures and so on.

    This means that all athletes, no matter what sport or country, should be dealt with in a consistent manner. It also means that the onus is put on to athletes to comply with all procedures including providing up to date whereabouts information.

What is doping control?

The doping control process, also sometimes referred to as drug testing involves the following stages: test planning, collection of samples (blood and/or urine) and their handling, laboratory analysis, therapeutic use exemptions, results management, hearings and appeals.

What samples can an athlete be asked to provide?

Athletes can be asked to provide either a urine sample or a blood sample or both in the one session.  If the athlete is required to provide both this can be done in any order.  It can depend on the athlete's ability to provide the urine sample as sometimes this takes some time, especially if the athlete has been training or competing as they may be dehydrated. 

For information on the urine and blood collection procedures click here

Why is blood collected?

Recent scientific developments have made blood testing an important tool for anti-doping organisations.

The analysis of blood samples (two tubes) can detect prohibited substances that cannot be detected in urine such as human growth hormone (hGH), CERA and H-Bocs .  Blood is also collected to measure and monitor selected parameters for the Athlete Biological Passport Programme (one tube).

For the blood test to detect prohibited substances, two tubes of blood will be collected with 3–mgs of blood in each tube (5mgs = one teaspoon).
For the Athlete Biological Passport programme, one tube of blood will be collected which is just 3-mgs of blood.

What is the Athlete Biological Passport?

The fundamental principle of the Athlete Biological Passport is based on the monitoring of an athlete’s biological variables (selected parameters) over time to facilitate indirect detection of doping on a longitudinal basis, rather than on the traditional direct detection of doping through a positive one off test.  Monitoring an athlete’s parameters throughout his or her sporting career will make doping easier to detect.
A normal blood parameter profile will be established for each athlete selected for the Athlete Biological Passport programme.  Once the athlete’s normal level is established variations can be investigated.

What if I refuse to participate?

Effective doping control or drug testing requires the cooperation and participation of all athletes. According to the WADA Code, a refusal (failure to provide a sample), without reasonable cause, is considered a doping-infraction and the penalty is a 2 year ban for a first time offence.

What are the penalties for a doping infraction/anti-doping rule violation?

The World Anti-Doping Code states that except for specified substances, an athlete will be banned as follows:
  • First violation: Two years ineligibility
  • Second Violation: Lifetime ineligibility
  • There are ways that athletes may be able to reduce there if they can show they did not set out to cheat.
See the World Anti-Doping Code on this site for more information

When can I be tested?

Athletes can be tested at anytime and at any location.  There are two types of testing, “in-competition” and “out-of-competition” and all testing is done at no notice, this means an athlete is not given any warning prior to a test. An "in competition” test is conducted at an event or after a game.
Athletes on the out-of-competition register (RTP & NTP) can be tested anytime, anywhere (including the athletes home), this is called an "out-of-competition" test.

These tests can be either urine tests or blood tests or both.

Am I in the NZ RTP or NTP?

Drug Free Sport NZ (DFSNZ) is required under the The Code to include athletes in an Out-of-Competition Register.  In New Zealand you may either be on the Registered Testing Pool (RTP) or the National Testing Pool (NTP). These athletes are required to fulfil athlete whereabouts requirements. All athletes in these programmes are supported by DFSNZ staff with registration and training in the use of the online whereabouts system. Athletes who are in this group are contacted directly by DFSNZ staff and informed of their inclusion, as are their sports.  If you have not been contacted by DFSNZ then you are not in either the NZ RTP or NTP.

Will I be notified of my test result and how long will that take?

DFSNZ will notify you of your result(s), along with the National Sporting Organisation and other organisations as required under the Rules regarding the result.  This can take up to 21 days.  The notification comes in the form of a letter, this is normally posted to the address you have supplied on the doping control form.

What are the prohibited classes of substances and methods?

World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has published a list with the following classes of prohibited substances and methods (note that substances will be regarded as prohibited when they are considered to be in a class even if they are not listed by name).

Prohibited Substances:

S1. Anabolic Agents
S2. Hormones and Related Substances
S3. Beta-2 Agonists
S4. Agents with Anti-Estrogenic Activity
S5. Diuretics and other Masking Agents
S6. Stimulants
S7. Narcotics
S8. Cannabinoids
S9. Glucocorticosteroids

Prohibited Methods:

M1. Enhancement of Oxygen Transfer
M2. Chemical and Physical Manipulation
M3. Gene Doping

Classes of Prohibited Substances in Certain Sports:

P1. Alcohol
P2. Beta-Blockers

Full WADA Prohibited List

What is blood doping and why is it banned?

Blood doping, also known as blood packing or blood boosting, is the injection of blood or blood-related products to raise the blood's oxygen carrying capacity. This happens because the concentration of haemoglobin in circulation is raised as there are more red blood cells to carry oxygen, which can help athletes competing in aerobic (endurance) sports. Athletes may use their own blood (previously withdrawn and frozen) or someone else's blood. Not only is blood doping contrary to the spirit of sport, it also carries health risks - including allergic reactions, jaundice, circulation overload, blood clots, metabolic shock and the transmission of infectious diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis.

What types of blood doping exist?

  1. Blood transfusion:
    • Homologous (compatible blood transfused from another person)
    • Autologous (transfusion of own previously removed and stored blood)
    • Heterologous (blood transfused from another species)
  1. Use of blood substitutes including but not limited to:
    • Modified Haemoglobin products such as haemoglobin based oxygen carriers (HBOCs) (e.g. Polyheme, Hemopure, Hemolink)
    • Perflurocarbons (PCF) such as Oxygent
    • Microencapsulated haemoglobin products
  1. Use of novel erythropoietic stimulants/hormones such as recombinant human erythropoietin (rHuEPO) (types of synthetic EPO include: Darbepoietin Alfa/Aranesp/NESP and Epoietin Delta/Dynepo)

What if an athlete needs to take a medication that contains a banned substance for medical reasons?

Athletes may apply for an exemption to use banned substances if they meet very strict criteria. Find out more about TUEs.

Do I need to declare my asthma medication?

From 1st January 2010, there have been significant changes around gaining permission to use certain asthma medications. Some require no permission, others must be declared, while others need a full Therapeutic Use Exemption.
Please check the asthma section in the Athlete Handbook for more information

Is marijuana banned?

From 1st January 2004, Marijuana (cannabinoids) and synthetic cannibinoids (e.g. Kronic & Spice) was added to the WADA Banned List and will be tested in competition for all sports. For more information see the DFSNZ’s full policy statement on Marijuana.

Is alcohol banned?

Alcohol is banned in-competition in some sports as set out on the WADA list. They are -
Aeronautics (FAI), Archery (FITA, IPC), Automobile (FIA), Karate (WKF),Motorcycling (FIM), Powerboating (UIM). Refer to section P1 in the WADA Prohibited List.

What can I take for a cold or flu?

From 1st January 2010, Pseudoephedrine is prohibited in competition. Information on medications that contain pseudoephedrine and guidelines around it's use out of competition.

Are herbal/nutritional products banned?

Some herbal products contain banned substances. For example, the plant Ma Huang (Chinese Ephedra) contains the banned drug ephedrine. Therefore, products containing Ma Huang are banned. Extreme caution should be taken when using nutritional supplements and/or herbal products as they may contain banned substances not shown in the list of ingredients. DFSNZ will not guarantee any nutritional supplement. All supplements are taken at the athlete’s own risk.  Click here for more information on supplements and herbal products.

Is caffeine a banned substance?

From 1 January 2004, caffeine was removed from the WADA Prohibited List. WADA labs will continue to monitor the presence of caffeine however, and WADA may consider banning it again if it is being abused by athletes.

What are anabolic agents and why are they banned?

Anabolic agents are substances that might assist in muscle growth (“anabolic”). The most common type are anabolic androgenic steroids (such as nandrolone and stanozolol), these are synthetic chemicals designed to simulate the hormone testosterone, which provides "anabolic" (building) and "androgenic" (masculinizing) effects. “Natural” steroids, including testosterone itself, are also banned.
Other substances in the anabolic agents class that are not steroids are beta 2 agonists, the most potent being clenbuterol. Other examples such as salbutamol (Ventolin) are permitted for the treatment of asthma but with some restrictions.
Using anabolic agents to enhance athletic performance may carry serious health risks and goes against the spirit of sport.

What are beta blockers and why are they restricted?

Beta blockers are drugs commonly used for heart disease to lower blood pressure and decrease the heart rate. In sports such as shooting or archery, beta blockers might be used to steady the nerves. Abuse of beta blockers can cause heart failure, asthma, depression, sleep disorders and sexual dysfunction.