LYON, France – An initiative developed by INTERPOL aims to help member countries understand and combat the trafficking of performance-enhancing drugs through targeted criminal analysis.
Supported by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the School of Criminal Science at the University of Lausanne (UNIL), Project Energia will focus on substances used with the exclusive aim of improving physical fitness and athletic performance. These include anabolic steroids, growth hormones, peptides and erythropoietin (EPO).
INTERPOL and WADA – which is financing the initiative – have collaborated on fighting doping in sports since 2009. UNIL will support the project through its expertise in cybercrime and forensic analysis, especially in its chemical and physical profiling methods.
“The Energia project is a key component in the global fight against doping. By joining forces, WADA and INTERPOL are better able to share intelligence on trafficking methods and on those who manufacture and distribute dangerous substances to athletes seeking an edge,” said Olivier Niggli, Director General, WADA.
“In gaining such intelligence, we are better able to support efforts to cut off the supply of performance enhancing drugs at the source, before they manage to get into the hands of athletes. Along with the behavioural research stemming from the University of Lausanne, we are confident that the project will contribute significantly to protecting clean sport,” added Mr Niggli.
Roraima Andriani, Director of INTERPOL’s Organized and Emerging Crime programme, said: “The use of doping substances to artificially and illegally boost performance is no longer solely associated with elite athletes, as the Internet has made products such as anabolic steroids available to mass consumers. The market is ‘low risk, high profit’ and therefore attractive to organized crime groups worldwide.
“Often manufactured clandestinely with no health regulations, performance-enhancing drugs pose serious health risks to users. We therefore welcome this cooperation agreement with WADA and UNIL which will help the fight against doping in sport,” added Mrs Andriani.
Project Energia will seek to identify criminal networks and their modus operandi; determine the main threats on which to focus law enforcement efforts; foster the exchange of information between law enforcement services so as to harmonize their action; and help uncover connections between trafficking in performance-enhancing drugs, pharmaceutical products and narcotics, and the criminal organizations operating in sport.
François Bussy, VP Research and International Relations at UNIL, said: "Integrity is of significant value to the University of Lausanne, both in terms of research and behaviour. The Energia project therefore fits perfectly with our values."
The project will collate and analyze intelligence on the supply and demand for performance-enhancing drugs seized and provided by the countries participating in the project, and deliver analytical reports.
“To tackle the contemporary challenge of performance-enhancing drug crime, law enforcement needs a coordinated international prevention strategy which also turns to the alternative investigative resources and expertise of academia,” said Rogerio Augusto Viana Galloro, Executive Director of the Brazilian Federal Police which helped make the recent Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio safe.
Participation in Project Energia is voluntary. Only countries that expressly request to take part in the project may have access to the expertise and the analysis provided. All information will be processed by INTERPOL in conformity with its mandate and relevant rules in force.