Wednesday, 6 June 2007 8:38 AM

Betel Nut Contains Banned Substance, Athletes Warned

Australia Sports Anti-Doping Authority reports that Arecoline, the active ingredient in betel nut, is prohibited under the World Anti-Doping Code 2007 Prohibited List.

The arecoline stimulant is a class1 A drug which is similar to steroids. Arecoline is amongst the prohibited drugs substances for this year's South Pacific Games in Apia, Samoa. The most abundant active ingredient of the betel nut is arecoline.

The Justification Committee of the National Olympic Committee of Solomon Islands has therefore enforced a new rule that consumption or chewing of betel nut is prohibited by athletes bound for the SPG in Apia, Samoa. NOCSI has formally endorsed the new rule that all athletes representing the 20 federations must abstain from chewing betel nut prior to the SPG in Apia, Samoa.

"This is not about religion, discipline or image but the anti-doping tests in Samoa will reveal this drug and the duration of time of intake is a risk. Tests will be random and I will also head the medical team for the games", says Chairman for the Justification Committee Dr. Munamua. "Even if betal nut was consumed 3 weeks before the games, tests will show the arecoline drug, which will mean immediate expulsion from the games"

"The last mini games in Palau the issue were not taken too seriously. But recently a critical debate on the subject concerning drug doping for this year's SPG in Samoa, arecoline was highlighted as an unwanted drug substance. For us it's a new thing and athletes must be aware", says Dr. Munamua.

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