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Racing to Qatar for drug symposium

Racing to Qatar for drug symposium

Date Published: 27-Jun-16

Parallels and divergences in illicit drug testing in animals and humans was the focus of the Anti-Doping Laboratory Qatar’s Sixth Symposium, held in Qatar from 31 May to 1 June. At the symposium, ChemCentre’s Forensic Science Operations Manager, Charlie Russo, spoke about the Australian experience of detecting non-veterinary drugs in equine samples.
“I was one of five representatives from racing laboratories of the Association of Official Racing Chemists (AORC) Asian Section invited to speak,” Charlie said.

“The symposium compared and contrasted the regulations and regulatory bodies in different countries, and the health consequences for dopants. It concluded with a focus on the nature and detection of dopants and their metabolites in animals as opposed to humans.

“We find that what gets used and abused in animals also gets used and abused in humans. There are strong parallels between illicit drug use in all sports.

“We had a case where a new human drug came onto the market in Australia and within three months we detected it in a sample.”

ChemCentre is one of four Australian laboratories testing equine and canine samples. When these samples are collected, three samples are taken – two of urine and a control wash solution that has been used to rinse the collection pan and sample bottles. If testing of the first urine sample reveals drugs, there is a procedure to confirm these results independently.

Collaboration between laboratories is important,” Charlie said. “The need to verify positive samples means we can only officially detect drugs if we have the same validated procedures as other laboratories, so when we develop new testing regimes, we need to share that information. We also need to communicate with each other about the drugs we are finding, because once something turns up in one place, our experience shows that it will turn up elsewhere.”

At the Qatar symposium, the retiring Director General of World Anti-Doping Association (WADA), David Howman, spoke about the global fight against doping in sport. His replacement, Rob Koehler, spoke on how WADA expands its reach to assist and regulate through partnerships.

The Qatar Laboratory is due to host the Asian AORC Section meeting in 2017 and the opportunity to have a joint meeting with the 7th ADLQ symposium is being investigated.
For more information contact Charlie Russo 9422 9880 or email

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