What Happens in a Drug Test?

What Happens In A Drug Test?

The first step is athlete selection. The athlete may be randomly selected or it may be a targeted test. Once the athlete has been selected the next step is notification


A Doping Control Officer DCO/Chaperone will notify you if you have been selected for testing either urine blood or both. They will explain your rights and responsibilities and ask you to sign the doping control form. You must report immediately to the Doping Control Station. The Doping Control Officer/Chaperone will stay at your side at all times until the process is finished. All athletes have rights and responsibilities relating to Drug Testing in Sport.

Rights Of An Athlete During A Doping Control

  • Request to see testers ID cards
  • Bring a representative to accompany you during the sample collection
  • Bring an interpreter to accompany you during the sample collection (if necessary)
  • Request a delay in reporting to the Doping Control Station (DCS) for a valid reason
  • Be offered a choice of sample collection equipment including sample collection vessel and kits
  • Request information regarding the sample collection procedure
  • Request modifications to the sample collection procedure if required, i.e. for athletes under the age of 18 or for athletes with an impairment
  • Record comments about the sample collection procedure on the Doping Control Form
  • Receive copies of all documentation you have signed
  • For in-competition testing valid reasons include: Participation in a victory ceremony
  • Fulfilment of media commitments
  • Competing in further Competitions
  • Performing a warm down
  • Obtaining necessary medical treatment
  • Locating a representative and/or interpreter
  • Obtaining photo identification
  • Any other exceptional circumstances which may be justified

For Out-Of-Competition Testing Valid Reasons Include:

  • Locating a representative
  • Completing a training session
  • Receiving necessary medical treatment
  • Obtaining photo identification
  • Any other exceptional circumstances which can be justified

Responsibilities Of An Athlete During A Doping Control

  • You must stay within sight of a tester at all times until you have provided your sample and are permitted to leave
  • Comply with the sample collection procedures and that the first sample you provide, after notification, is at the Doping Control Station and that you retain control of your urine sample until it is securely sealed
  • You should avoid excessive re-hydration as a there is a requirement to produce a sample with a suitable Specific Gravity for analysis
  • Report immediately for a test unless there is valid reason for a delay
  • You should produce identification such as a Driving Licence, Passport, Garda Age Card, NGB Licence Card etc
  • You must co-operate with the testers during the sample collection procedure
  • If you choose to consume food or fluids prior to providing a sample it is at your own risk

What Are The Procedures For Blood Collection?

The principles of blood collection are similar to the collection of urine samples. You will be notified of your selection for doping control by a tester and informed that a urine and/or blood sample will be collected. In some cases, depending on the type of blood test that is being undertaken, it may be a requirement that you have not taken part in strenuous exercise for at least two hours. Once at the doping control station, Sport Ireland's doping control officer will explain the process to the athlete and the athlete will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Will A Minor Be Tested?

The decision to test athletes is not based on age; it is based on the level that the athlete is competing at. Minors competing at national level may be tested. When a minor is providing a sample they have the right to request their representative to be present in the toilet area. The representative will not witness the passing of the sample but are present to watch the actions of the Chaperone/DCO who is witnessing the sample.

More Information

Watch the WADA Doping Video
Have a look at the Real Winner e-learning programme
Download and read the Sample Collection Procedures leaflet

Sample Collection Procedures - Urine and Blood Leaflet

WADA International Standard for Testing 2009