‘Drugs should be banned’ for pro gamers

The scourge of drugs in sport has brought controversy to cycling, athletics, Aussie Rules and rugby, and now the world of professional video gaming is preparing to outlaw performance-enhancing substances.

The professional video game governing body has announced its first-ever anti-doping code, which Australian gaming competitors will have to follow.

The Electronic Sports League (ESL) said in July it was working with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in implementing an anti-performance-enhancing drugs code for “safeguarding the integrity of our competitions”.

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In July, Kory Friesen, an American professional Esports player, sparked controversy when he admitted to taking prescription drug Adderall at a recent ESL-sanctioned event which carried a $250,000 prize. He said “everyone” was on the drug at the event. It was this admission which sparked the ESL to begin testing gamers for banned substances.

ESL said in a statement: “The popularity and visibility of Esports has grown exponentially in recent years, but this combined with the increasing size of prize pools has also made the temptation of rule-breaking even greater.”

gaming-drugsIt will then move on to “disseminating this policy to additional regions”, including Australia.

The news of the code’s creation has been welcomed by gaming bodies, teams and players in Australia, despite conflicting opinions on whether drugs are a problem Down Under.

Jesse Graetz, from the Citadel Gaming Team, told The New Daily: “I know of players in Australia and around the world who use drugs when gaming.

“I definitely support the moves by the ESL to outlaw drug use around the world in competitive and professional gaming.”

In a statement to The New Daily, the Australian Cyber League said they don’t feel drugs are damaging Australian professional gaming.

However a spokesperson said: “We will look to follow the global leaders in ESL where appropriate.”

A spokesperson from Australian and New Zealand professional gaming news website Southern Cross Dota said: “To the best of our knowledge, doping in Esports is not a prevelant activity within the community.

“SCD currently stands for testing, as it allows for fair competition of all.”

“There will be health consequences” for gamers

An investigation by The New Daily in June uncovered that one of the most popular stimulants used by professional gamers, university students and professionals working in the technology industry was Modafinil – a prescription medicine normally given to those with narcolepsy and sleep apnea to help them stay awake.

Those without sleep disorders or prescriptions are buying the drug in order to remain completely focused on a project for hours or days at a time, a nootropics dealer told The New Daily.

“They amplify all of your experiences and everything looks really clear. Some give you tunnel vision, giving you lots of focus and blocking out any distractions,” the dealer, who worked in the technology industry, claimed.

“Others enhance your mood, problem solving, memory and assist with relaxation. If you know you have an important meeting you can control your state and take some beforehand.”

Melbourne Sleep Disorder Clinic director David Cunnington warned of the associated risks of long-term sleeplessness and overdosing.

“Sure, Modafinil can relieve the tiredness of working long hours, but there will be health consequences if you’re not getting enough sleep,” Dr Cunnington told The New Daily.

“High doses can cause users to lose their sense of judgement and inhibition.

“They might be more impulsive and prone to risk taking, possibly finding themselves doing thing they wouldn’t normally do.”

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