The United Kingdom Anti-Doping Agency (UKAD) very much started off as an organization looking to keep amateur and professional athletes competing at the national and international level off of performance-enhancing drugs, acting as a testing agency as well as a governing body that could hand down suspensions for anyone found to be abusing performance-enhancing drugs or violating the protocols put in place.
Over the last few years, however, the UK Anti-Doping Agency has started to “stretch their legs” and started to get involved in other areas of performance-enhancing drug use, abuse, and trafficking.
Recently this previously sports only focused organization has gotten involved with local police departments and national police investigation agencies, throwing their full support and weight – as well as considerable resources – behind national efforts and initiatives to find Underground Laboratories (UGLs) responsible for producing and distributing steroids throughout the United Kingdom.
According to records released by the Kent Police, the UK Anti-Doping Agency was actively involved in the police raid of an underground laboratory responsible for producing anabolic steroids at a residence located in the southeastern portion of England.
The UK Anti-Doping Agency provided information and resources to the Kent Police, the Eastern Region Special Operations Unit, as well as the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency – all of which work to together when executing a search warrant for this property in December 2018.
Investigators were able to discover that the residence was in fact being used to manufacture a variety of different controlled substances, including counterfeit street drugs, over-the-counter and prescription medicines, and a wide variety of anabolic steroids. Two individuals accused of running the operation and financing the underground laboratory had been arrested at that point in time, though the names of the individuals as well as the address for the property itself was not released to the public.
And even though the Kent Police admitted that the resources and information provided by the UK Anti-Doping Agency were rather small in the grand scheme of things, that didn’t stop this particular agency from shouting from the rooftops about how big a role and how important they were in cracking down on steroids in substance distribution throughout the United Kingdom.
A spokesperson for the UK Anti-Doping Agency move forward at a press conference to talk about how dangerous steroids could be, how they damage the brain, how they threaten long-term health, and how they can bring about infertility as well as liver and kidney failure.
This is obviously an organization that’s looking to expand its mandate far beyond enforcing the morality and ethics of sports in the United Kingdom. They have always labeled athletes that take advantage of performance-enhancing drugs to be “bad” and “dirty”, but now they are looking to start to apply those labels to anyone that has been found to be using these drugs or these substances – regardless of whether or not they ever have aspirations for competing at the local, national, or international level of any sport.
It will be interesting to see how the UK Anti-Doping Agency continues to evolve and grow over time. It doesn’t look like anyone is willing to ask why this organization feels that they can stretch their wings quite this much, why they are moving away from their original mandate and mission, and why they feel that they are uniquely suited to move into this position while acting like the morality police outside the world of sports.
What we do know, however, based off of the actions of this agency is that they aren’t going to slow down anytime soon. Instead, many expect them to get more and more involved in these nonsports related incidents and issues – but to what extent, no one can be sure.