Objectives: To examine the attitudes to, and knowledge of, doping in sport of French general practitioners (GPs), and their contact with drug taking athletes on an everyday basis.
Methods: A total of 402 GPs were randomly selected from all over France and interviewed by telephone, using a prepared script.
Results: The response rate was 50.5% (153 men and 49 women; mean (SD) age 45.6 (5.6) years). Of the respondents, 73% confirmed that they had the list of banned products, and only 34.5% stated that they were aware of the latest French law, brought into effect in March 1999, concerning the fight against doping. Some 11% had directly encountered a request for prescription of doping agents over the preceding 12 months (the requested substances were mainly anabolic steroids, stimulants, and corticosteroids), and 10% had been consulted by an athlete who was using doping drugs and was frightened of the health risks (the substances used were mainly anabolic steroids). Over half (52%) of the GPs favoured the prescription of drug substitutions to athletes who used doping agents. According to 87.5% of respondents, doping is a public health problem, and 80% stated that doping is a form of drug addiction. Most (89%) said that a GP has a role to play in doping prevention, but 77% considered themselves poorly prepared to participate in its prevention.
Conclusion: The results suggest that (a) GPs have limited knowledge of doping and (b) are confronted with doping in their daily practice, at least occasionally.
- general practitioners
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