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Drug Free Sport New Zealand v Gareth Dawson


Anti-doping – NBL basketball player (D) tested positive for prohibited substance tamoxifen – admitted violation – developed medical condition in 2011, which was sore and annoying when competing – went to a doctor in Timaru who diagnosed condition but didn’t prescribe treatment – condition went away for 18 months then returned – in 2013 D researched t condition online, saw references to tamoxifen as a treatment and ordered tamoxifen tablets from an online pharmacy – didn’t receive them as intercepted in the mail by NZ Customs – when tablets didn’t arrive D consulted a doctor in Invercargill where he was now living – he requested a “repeat prescription” of tamoxifen and was prescribed tamoxifen, which he later took – Tribunal satisfied how tamoxifen entered D’s body, he didn’t intend to enhance sports performance or mask the use of a performance enhancing substance and that obtained by prescription and taken to deal with a medical condition – D satisfied requirements under SADR 14 .4 for specified substances (which tamoxifen is) and eligible for suspension of less than two years. Athletes know they have strict personal responsibility to ensure prohibited substances don’t enter their bodies – if they are casual and inattentive to education provided, or don’t use advice available, they do so at their peril – in assessing D’s fault, Tribunal disagreed that D was silly or careless by trying to self-medicate – he was foolhardy and his culpability was not at the low end – experienced athlete who had ample opportunity to know and understand drug free environment – having obtained medical diagnosis he irresponsibly later tried to get a prescription medicine from the Internet to treat it – that he’d shifted cities and changed doctors wasn’t good reason – didn’t contact Drug Free Sport to check about tamoxifen or otherwise obtain information about its anti-doping status – made little effort to exercise proper caution expected of a semi-professional and experienced athlete to avoid taking prohibited substances – when unsuccessful in obtaining tamoxifen from Internet, he was less forthcoming with the next doctor he contacted than he should have been in asking for a repeat prescription – Tribunal concluded penalty couldn’t be less than 12 months’ suspension, because of failures to meet his personal responsibilities in the drug free environment, and suspended D until 15 May 2015 (12 months from date provisionally suspended).

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