Docs, coaches will face up to 3 years for doping

CzechNews
30. 10. 2008 14:15
Legal loopholes encourage production and trading of anabolic steroids in Czech Republic
Urine samples at a doping laboratory
Urine samples at a doping laboratory | Foto: Reuters

Prague - Although the Czech underground market for anabolic steroids is worth hundreds of millions of crowns, it has so far evaded police attention, mainly because of loopholes in the existing laws.

A new penal code that has already passed the first reading in the lower house is going to change this. Those caught offering, storing, importing or exporting performance-enhancing drugs will go to jail for up to three years.

Police as well as customs officers are now getting ready for the new task.

"A special department aimed solely at fighting the trading and abuse of these substances will be created within the [Czech Police's] National Anti-Drug Centre," said Jiří Komorous, head of the narcotics team. He added that producers and dealers from abroad are aware of the loopholes in the Czech laws and use the Czech Republic as a trading hub.

"We are also planning swoops at fitness centres where steroids are being sold to the end consumers," said Jaroslav Nekola, head of the Czech Anti-Doping Committee, a body coordinating the efforts.

In the last crackdown on producers of anabolic steroids, police and customs raided an illegal laboratory outside Prague and seized four consignments destined for Germany, Spain, Sweden and the UK. The UK-bound consignment alone was worth CZK 24 million.

Hormones for medical use only

The new law will stipulate as illegal any non-medical use of substances and methods with hormonal effects.

The consumption of performance-enhancing drugs itself will not be illegal, but possession of these substances by athletes will be subject to investigation.

The basic penalty for selling or administering anabolic steroids will be one year in prison, but a number of listed factors may increase the penalty to as many as three years behind bars.

According to Nekola, higher penalties will apply if the person administering the drug is a doctor or a registered coach, or if the perpetrator offers such substances to a minor.

 

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