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State-of-Art Drug Identification Laboratories Play Increasing Role in Major Athletic Events

Virginia Cowart
JAMA. 1986;256(22):3068-3074. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380220018004.
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WHEN ATHLETES GATHER next summer in Indianapolis for the Pan-American Games, which are often seen as a preview of the Olympic Games, the Sports Medicine Drug Identification Laboratory at Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis will offer a first look at a new state-of-the-art facility that can strike fear into the heart of any athlete who has been experimenting with banned substances.

At the 1983 Pan-American Games in Caracas, Venezuela, the disqualifications and withdrawals from competition that occurred when it became obvious that the laboratories could indeed discern who was using drugs marred the image of the event and [ill]ocused attention on the issue of drug use by amateur athletes. (Because many athletes feel they all have been unfairly tarred with the brush of drug use, it should be noted that the actual prevalence detected in Caracas was about 5%, as opposed to the 1% prevalence at the 1984 Olympic


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