Tuesday, February 10, 2015

USATF Now Lets Members Ask About Drugs and Supplements

The USATF has teamed up with The National Center for Drug Free Sport to allow free access for all of their members to the Resource Exchange Center, a subscription service of Drug Free Sport. The REC is a portal where athletes and coaches can ask questions about drugs and supplements to make sure that they are not ingesting anything illegal within the sport and to learn of any known health risks or side effects. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency already has a hotline that elite athletes can call to determine if a medication or specific substance is banned. The REC broadens this concept by enabling any USATF members - not just athletes in USADA's drug-testing pool - to inquire about supplements, which can contain multiple substances, some labeled and some not. In addition, the REC and Drug-Free Sport will provide USATF members with information that is reported by athletes who take a supplement and have an adverse reaction to it. The directions and the method for accessing the portal is a little confusing. First, you need to log in to the USATF website using your member ID number. It doesn't say so, but you then need to return to the REC directions page and click on the REC logo to get to the REC Access Page which will provide your login information. Be aware that choosing your login name can also be difficult given their funky little widget. I took a look around the site after I figured out how to access it, and there are some good informational articles mixed in with pages that don't exist yet and are just coming soon... While the articles are certainly worth reading, the main feature I was hoping to see is conspicuously missing, and that is a list of common drugs and supplements and all of the information about each one that the site can provide. As far as I can tell, if you want information about a specific drug or supplement, you need to ask and then wait for up to 24 hours for a response. That seems like it's a a poor use of resources, as I have to imagine that many of the drugs and supplements people would ask about are going to be repeated over and over. Still, it's a great resource to have available, so if you are a member of the USATF and are at all curious about a supplement that you are or are considering taking, I highly recommend requesting information through the REC.

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