Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I kissed a girl...and I liked it

Cocaine is not a performance-enhancing drug. I have covered that subject many times. But, given that An Important Body says it is, players are in trouble if caught using it.

I have no problem whatsoever with Richard Gasquet's having his ban rescinded. However, I worked in the chemical dependency field for several years, and "I kissed a woman who had used cocaine and I didn't know it" is the most oft-cited "reason" for having a positive test result that I heard. I heard it over and over, and I heard several variations of it.

So Gasquet, who had a significant positive result, is free to play tennis, and Martina Hingis--who had a much less significant positive result--has a two-year ban.

Go figure. It's as if the people making the rules were...on drugs.


David said...

There is a lot more to the case than the amount of cocaine in their samples. Hingis tested positive only for a metabolite of cocaine, where as Gasquet had a non-metabolite cocaine reading in his urine. This means that they could get a time period for when the cocaine entered his system, which was no later than 12 hours before the time of the test, and toxicologists determined a more likely time period. Given that, the tiny amount ingested was, in their opinion and mine, not done so intentionally, as a user of cocaine would not want to only take an amount the size of a grain of salt. Hingis, because she only had the metabolite of cocaine, could have ingested it at any time, and the amount in her system just been lowering over time. The problem was, they didn't know, and Hingis had no explanation for how it got into her system.

That is the basis for the result they made.

Diane said...

I am aware of that, but my point--speaking as someone with a great deal of experience in this field--is that Gasquet had no explanation, either. Believe me when I say that the "I kissed someone" line is so old and so common that it is next to ridiculous to someone who has listened to hundreds of "why the cocaine is in my bloodstream" stories.

There is also some disagreement over the accuracy of some systems in determining a time period. And--given this board's prior irresponsible behavior--there is no reason to believe it would use the best lab, or a back-up system. I have even doubted the consistency of its chain of custody regulations.

David said...

Well, he did have toxicologists there to explain how the cocaine could have entered his system as well as eye witnesses. The ITF wanted to give him 2 years as well, but they felt given the circumstances, there was enough evidence to give him this ruling. I feel that he did infact have an explanation, given that he was at a party where cocaine was present, he kissed someone who was most probably using cocaine, he had a non-metabolised trace of cocaine in his urine, which means that it had to be taken recently, and given it was so small it would not be the amount someone who was trying to use cocaine would use. And when it comes to examining a urine sample, if someone has a non-metabolised trace of cocaine, it has to be taken very recently.

I think this is the correct ruling, and I also think it would have been the correct one for Hingis

Diane said...

I agree with you, David. And if all things were equal, I wouldn't even question any of this. But that commission does not have a good track record for being fair, or for even following its own rules.