Drugs in Sport: the Trial

Issued: Tue, 31 May 2016 16:32:00 BST

From Lance Armstrong to Maria Sharapova, drug doping in elite sport remains a huge issue. But is the ‘zero-tolerance’ approach working?

Drugs in Sport: the Trial

In collaboration with University of Glasgow sport scientists Jason Gill and Nairn Scobie, this year’s Glasgow Science Festival will feature courtroom drama ‘Drugs in Sport: the Trial’.

This lively debate about drug doping in sport will be led by comedian ‘judge’ Susan Morrison and opposing lawyers. Leading experts in sociology, physiology, sport science and medicine from across the UK will give evidence while the audience serve on the jury and decide the verdict.

Changed the rules

Among the expert witnesses is sociologist Professor Ellis Cashmore from Aston University, whose book ‘Studying Football’ was published in April. He said:“The safest and most rational way forward is to allow the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport and ask athletes to declare what substances they are taking, how often and in what kind of amounts.We could then monitor what's going on.

"As it stands, athletes are getting unknown substances from secret suppliers and this can't be healthy, either for them or their sport. I think we could make sport safer, more transparent and more congruent with the 21st century if we simply changed the rules.”

Other contributors include pharmacologist Professor Ian McGrath, the Scotland National Football Team’s Doctor Dr John Maclean, geneticist Dr Colin Moran, and business consultant John McClintock.

Curious phenomenon 

Fran Taylor, a GP and Masters student in sport science at the University of Glasgow is organising the event. She said: “Drugs in sport is a hot topic with yet another sporting icon’s career up in the air due to use of a banned substance.

"It is a curious phenomenon that athletes who relentlessly pursue physical excellence, can be willing to jeopardise this by the use of potentially hazardous substances, while many ill people have to be persuaded to take less noxious substances simply to prolong their lives. Join us and our panel of experts to debate this perpetually fascinating and controversial issue.”

The event will take place on Tuesday 14 June at 19:30 in the University of Glasgow’s Boyd Orr Building.

The event is free but ticketed, please book online.

More about the Glasgow Science Festival

Glasgow Science Festival runs from 9-19 June. For more information visit Glasgow Science Festival 


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