Medication and prohibited substances

Here you can find information on the latest WADA prohibited list, and all you need to know about Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs). We also have fact files on various prohibited substances including anabolic steroids, recreational drugs and the dangers of contaminated meat.


Substance Information

Prohibited Substance Category: S6: Stimulants (Substance of Abuse)
Prohibited in-competition? Yes
Prohibited out-of-competition? No

Cocaine is a highly addictive and dangerous illegal drug usually snorted by users, but sometimes eaten, injected or smoked. Cocaine directly affects the central nervous system by creating an intense high or sense of euphoria. Use and/or possession of cocaine is a criminal offence in most countries.

What are the health risks?

Cocaine use can lead to increased temperature, heart rate and blood pressure, constricted blood vessels and a loss of weight due to suppressed appetite.  You also increase your risk of an overdose if you mix cocaine with other drugs or alcohol. Seizures can occur after repeated use of cocaine.

What are the side effects?

The initial rush from cocaine use is short and leaves users on a “downer” as it wears off.  It is addictive and frequent users will often crave more of the drug, which increases the impact of health implications and the risk of it being detected.

What is the starting sanction for a first offence in rugby?

3 months if used Out of Competition in a context not related to sport performance.

What else should you know?

If you took cocaine and it was detected from an in competition doping control, you would face a suspension from rugby.  Your name would also be published, which would damage your reputation, and risk any contracts and sponsorship deals you may have. Remember that social drug use is bad for your health as an elite athlete, but also bad for your reputation.  If you are filmed or photographed taking cocaine it could be published on social media.