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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I get tested?
  2. Who will test me?
  3. What happens if a sample tests positive for a prohibited substance?
  4. If my doctor prescribes a prohibited medication, why can't I use it?
  5. Should I be concerned about positive test is the medication I'm taking isn't on the Prohibited List?
  6. My doctor wants to prescribe an antibiotic and cold medication for my illness. Are antibiotics and cold medications permitted with a prescription?
  7. What about "all-natural" supplements; can they cause a positive test?

How do I get tested?

You may be subject to both in-competition drug testing and out-of-competition drug testing. In both cases urine and/or blood may be collected and tested.

Out-of-competition

Out-of-competition testing occurs outside competitions and may be conducted by testing representatives from USADA, IAAF and WADA. If you are ranked among the top 50 in the World or one of the top 15 performers in your respective event domestically, you are subject to out-of-competition drug testing. The rankings are provided by the IAAF, Track & Field News and the Road Running Information Center. If you are subject to out-of-competition testing, you may be responsible for keeping USADA, the IAAF and USATF informed of your most current address as well as your daily 60-minute window. Athletes must submit information electronically by emailing update@usada.org or texting text@usada.org and finally athletes may use their unique login to access the USADA system at www.usada.org/athletes to submit their quarterly whereabouts.

Under the IAAF out-of-competition drug testing rules, any athlete competing and who is ranked among the top 50 in the World is subject to out-of-competition drug testing by their testing agency, USADA. The IAAF out-of-competition drug testing program is conducted pursuant to the provisions set forth in the IAAF Procedural Guidelines for Doping Control (PDF).

However, regardless of the organization responsible for conducting the out-of-competition program, it is important for athletes to know that out-of-competition drug testing can occur any time and any place--at work, home, the track, the gym, in class, etc.

In-competition

In-competition drug testing occurs on-site at all USA National Championships, Olympic Trials, World Championship trials, and other USATF- or IAAF-sanctioned events. Drug chaperones will inform you immediately after your event that you have been selected for testing and will give you a notification form and instructions.

Who will test me?

You are subject to testing by representatives of the USADA and WADA. However, regardless of the organization conducting drug testing, and regardless of the number of times you have been selected for in-competition or out-of-competition drug testing, you must provide a sample each time you are selected for drug testing.

Representatives from testing agencies must identify himself or herself to you as a collector and present identification before a urine or blood sample can be collected. An unexcused failure to provide a sample could result in the sample being considered "positive" for a prohibited substance, resulting in a 2-year penalty.

What happens if a sample tests positive for a prohibited substance?

USADA handles all aspects of the disciplinary process if a sample tests positive either domestically or internationally. If the positive sample was given in a domestic competition sanctioned by USATF, USADA will notify the athlete of the test result. If the positive sample was given in an IAAF-sanctioned competition, the IAAF will notify USATF, and USATF will notify the athlete and inform USADA, which will handle the remainder of the process.

For more information, visit Article 10 of the WADA Code.

If my doctor prescribes a prohibited medication, why can't I use it?

Since some medications prescribed by doctors for treatment of legitimate medical conditions have the potential to enhance athletic performance, they are prohibited. A prohibited drug is still prohibited, even it prescribed by a doctor. If you have asthma or diabetes, you may submit a Therapeutic Use Exemption form to USADA and the IAAF prior to competition requesting permission to use certain medications. Such requests must be approved prior to use of the medication.

Should I be concerned about positive test if the medication I'm taking isn't on the Prohibited List?

Yes, you should be concerned because there is no complete list for prohibited substances. New names and new products are available daily, and foreign drugs may not appear in U.S. drug reference books. The list of prohibited substances is subject to change without notice. In addition, drugs not listed or different formulations of the same brand name may not be allowed. For any of these reasons, a "complete" or "safe" list is not available for distribution. You should call USADA's Drug Reference Hotline at 800-233-0393 to find out the current status of any substance you may consider taking.

My doctor wants to prescribe an antibiotic and cold medication for my illness. Are antibiotics and cold medications permitted with a prescription?

As with all over-the-counter or prescribed medications, athletes should visit the USADA Drug Reference Resources (www.globaldro.com) to check the status of their medications.

What about "all-natural" supplements; can they cause a positive test?

Yes. Some substance that are banned are also derived from plants and are therefore consider natural. There is no guarantee that there are not ingredients in the product that are not listed on the package. It is important to remember that the use of ALL nutritional products is completely at your own risk. 

This information is intended to be a general overview of drug testing issues. Please obtain all the original documents and information regarding drug testing and read them thoroughly. This does not offer legal opinion or advice, and should not be relied upon as a source of legal advice or guidance.

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