The detection of doping in sport is a vital component to creating a fair competitive environment for athletes. Educating athletes on the process of doping detection from start to finish may help them make better decisions when they are faced with doping, either intentionally or unintentionally. The doping detection process starts with the World Anti-Doping Agency and other Anti-Doping Organizations deciding what athletes should be tested and what they should be tested for, and ends with either a positive or negative doping test. Athletes’ knowledge on the doping detection process often ends when their sample is collected, unless they are accused of doping and face consequences of suspension or even being banned from the sport. However, athletes should be more knowledgeable on the testing procedures used once their samples are collected. Today, the most common tests used are gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, liquid-chromatography-mass spectrometry, and mass-spectrometry-mass spectrometry, among others. These techniques can be used to detect steroids, narcotics, stimulants, masking agents, contaminants of dietary supplements, and other substances on the WADA Prohibited List. Innocent athletes should be able to defend themselves if a test method gives a false-positive result, and understanding the accuracy of these test methods and how many different techniques there are should deter dishonest athletes from doping. Advancements are constantly being made to detect new substances and better detect substances that are commonly used. Informing athletes of the possible health risks and how certain drugs may even decrease their athletic performance should be deterrents as well. Educating the athletic community on the doping process from start to finish is the key to creating a doping free environment for competitive sports.


Forensic science, toxicology, forensic instrumentation, drug testing

Document Type


Year of Completion



Forensic Science


Stacy Lopez-Meyerheinrich

Academic Department

Forensic Science