There is a pretty good doping article today over at Velonews. I hope this is the beginning of Dawn Richardsonâ€™s writings on the subject. There is a lot more to be said, and it seems Ms. Richardon has just touched the tip of it in this piece.
For four years I’ve been privately interviewing professional cyclists who are in recovery from doping so that I might better understand what draws them to dope and what happens to them once they’ve gone to the dark side. I’m able to ask the questions nobody else can and hope to get honest answers because as a doctor I cannot and would not violate medical confidentiality. I’ve been privileged to learn from several athletes about their motivations and pressures as well as the medical problems they suffered as a result of their abuse of performance-enhancing drugs. These athletes aren’t permitted under current WADA/USADA code to speak publicly about their personal experiences of doping without fear of suspension. I can, however, share what I’ve learned without naming names.
…Most surprising was the disclosure of common and long-lasting mental illness and frequent substance abuse among dopers. Some had alcohol- or substance-abuse histories before professional cycling. None was treated for mental illness until after doping. Those with substance-abuse histories escalated or started while doping. There was often a family history of addiction. They described an overwhelming and lingering psychological burden from their participation in doping that reminded me of Raskolnikov in “Crime and Punishment.” Some were relieved when they were caught, as it seemed the only way out of “the club.” I have heard more than once, “I’d be dead if I continued doping.”