SAIDS to tackle substance abuse

Fri, 25 Jan 2013 08:26
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The South African Institute for Drug-free Sport (SAIDS) is doing the rounds of the schools.

The South African Institute for Drug-free Sport (SAIDS) is doing the rounds of the schools to promote its programme to combat the use of 'sports' drugs in schools.

On Tuesday, 22 January 2013, Grey High in Port Elizabeth hosted a workshop dealing with its schools testing protocol. It moved to Bishops on Thursday, 24 January. On 29 January St John's will host the third workshop and then Kearsney College will do so on 12 February. Negotiations are still taking place for a fifth workshop in Bloemfontein.

The workshops are set to last two hours and will be addressed by the SAIDS CEO, Khalid Galant, Andrew Breetke , an attorney and the chairman of the SACS governing body, who drafted the SAIDS Schools Testing Protocol, Rafiek Marmion to deal with educational aspects, Liam Shirley who is the legal project manager and a medical representative.

Some points from the workshop:

* This is the first time in the world that such an initiative has taken place and it has attracted the attention of the IRB, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and England. Two SARU medical men were at the Bishops workshop.

* The initiative was started when SAIDS was approached by Durban attorneys.

* SAIDS tests only by invitation.

SAIDS's services are at no cost to the schools.

* South Africa has more positive tests for the use of prohibited substances than any other country.

* The youngest girl to test positive for the use of steroids was a 15-year-old female athlete whose father was involved.

* The initiative has the support of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), whose headquarters are in Montreal, Canada.  The SAIDS findings are sent to Canada.

* SAIDS tests for anabolic agents, hormone & metabolic modulators and diuretics and other masking agents.

* 'Any learner who is on a steroid is killing himself.'
'Steroids kill more quickly than cocaine.'
'SAIDS is here to save kids' lives.'

* SAIDS will not be testing at games or festivals.  But it will be testing at Craven Week.

* Samples are sent to the Free State laboratory in Bloemfontein, the only WADA-accredited facility on Africa.

* Disciplinary action for learners who test positive is up to the schools but SAIDS is willing to help with the process.

* SAIDS are involved not just with testing but also with education.

* Schools who buy into the scheme will be accredited and a list of accredited schools will be published in the Sunday Times on 30 March 2013.

* Schools who have 'reasonable suspicion' of drug-taking can approach SAIDS.

Reasonable suspicion could arise from finding the banned substance, sudden physical developments including the broadening of the jaw, excessive acne and the development of breasts in boys and mood changes which include depression on the one hand and aggression and rage on the other,

* There is no testing for supplements but SAIDS is opposed to the use of supplements which are freely available and not regulated, not even requiring to have list of contents.

* It is likely that most of those taking banned substances are not involved in any sporting activity.

* SAIDS is starting in a small way and will review its findings after a year.