Together for a doping-free society

Excellencies, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is with great pleasure I welcome you to this International Conference on the subject of doping and public Health.

The purpose of the conference is to raise awareness and increase knowledge about doping as a public health problem.

The conference covers a broad range of topics with some of the foremost experts in the world. Among the topics are:

  • Steroid abuse
  • Performance enhancing supplements
  • The fitness centre industry
  • Medical treatment
  • Law enforcement

I hope you will use this unique opportunity to acquire new knowledge, to mingle and build your network, and to exchange ideas and views about these highly relevant topics.

There is a broad political consensus to address doping as a public health problem.

A new legal prohibition of the use, possession and acquisition of doping substances came into effect July 1, 2013. The new law has given the police and the Norwegian an opportunity to intensify its activity.

According to KRIPOS – The National Criminal Investigation Service – doping products are to a certain extent produced in Norway. It is easy to obtain the necessary equipment for production. Both large amounts of anabolic androgenic steroids and production equipment are regularly seized. Criminal networks in Norway trade and sell doping substances with significant profits.

Customs calculations indicate that criminal networks can make four times more selling anabolic steroids than heroin and cocaine.

In recent years, Norwegian police has rolled up several major doping cases and networks.

The Police district of the region of Sør-Trøndelag in Norway has identified and investigated some of the largest cases and importation channels to Norway known as Operation Gilde.

Operation Gilde has probably contributed to decrease the number of doping cases since 2012. However, it also indicates that organized crime within doping is a more extensive problem in Norway than previously thought. This coincides with experiences from other countries.

The last few years the work against doping as a public health problem has increased.

The Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee, the Confederation of Sports (Norges idrettsforbund) and the Ministry of Culture established Anti-Doping Norway in 2003. The foundation has since been the leading Norwegian body against doping in sports. The aim is to promote clean exercise and clean sports on all levels and in all situations.

Project funds for the anti-doping work in a public health was granted The Norwegian Directorate of Health between 2007 and 2013

Since 2013, Anti-Doping Norway has taken on a broader social responsibility.

The foundation has received additional funds to establish a resource-centre, The Centre for Prevention and Public Health. The mission is to build knowledge and expertise to prevent doping. It shall be the leading capacity in communicating anti-doping awareness towards youth, teachers, police, health personnel and fitness centres.

Doping as a public health problem and social problem has become an integral part of Anti-Doping Norway’s activities, and it is not limited to professional sports.

Anti-Doping Norway's collaboration with fitness centres has been intensified. We must remember that the illegal use of doping substances is primarily a problem concerning fitness centres outside organised sports activities.

Anti-Doping Norway and the Enterprise Federation of Norway are cooperating to certify fitness and exercise centres in a «Clean Centre»-program of no doping centres. The «Clean Centre» program offers information- and educationtools to its members. I am happy to sees that the program is becoming increasingly popular.

Anti-Doping Norway also collaborate with police districts, municipalities and schools in information sharing. Teachers, health personnel and other professionals who meet young people need a basic knowledge of doping and its health effects. They also need an understanding of how internet and social media can amplify body pressure and attitudes, particularly among young people. 

New reports show a disturbing trend concerning young people and mental health issues. Youths today experience a powerful body culture, and very many are too concerned with body image. This bothers me.

One year ago, in June 2016, the Norwegian government launched the first national Youth Health Strategy (Ungdomshelsestrategi). The aim is to ensure our youth and adolescence the best possible mental health and well-being. The impact social media has on body image is an important topic in the strategy. 

The ban on use and possession of doping substances has contributed to increased attention from the police. However, there is still a need for more knowledge about doping, not least about the health impacts. This conference will shed new light on this important issue.

I would like to thank Anti-Doping Norway for its important work within public health. Anti-Doping Norway has taken a leading role nationally the last few years. I particularly want to single out the initiative to facilitate national cooperation between police, customs and the school authorities.

With this conference, Anti-Doping Norway, The World Anti-Doping Agency, The National Police Directorate, The Ministry of Culture and The Norwegian Directorate for Health has succeeded in placing doping and public health on the agenda internationally.

Together we have the means and willingness to counter doping.

We must not miss the opportunity to address this challenge head on, before it gets a stronger foothold in society.

I am convinced that a joint mobilization is the solution towards a doping-free society. Through international cooperation and joint efforts, we will counter doping in society. 

Enjoy the conference.

I hope to see you all at the reception at Astrup Fearnley Museum tonight.

Thank you!