Does Australian eSports Have A Drug Problem?

"We were all on Adderall," Kory "SEMPHIS" Friesen said. That was the moment when the latest eSports scandal kicked off in earnest. The Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player, who is still featured on the official CS:GO tips and tricks video page, had lit the fuse: it was time to talk about drugs again.

As the discussion raged about the alleged use of Adderall amongst other teams, Australia -- perhaps because of our minor international presence in eSports -- was never mentioned. But after talking to multiple players across multiple scenes, I discovered that local gamers have also dabbled with external methods of improving their performance.

The most severe allegations came from two prominent sources on the local eSports circuit, who alleged that players have used performance enhancing drugs -- specifically Ritalin, an alternative to Adderall that is designed to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit disorder -- with the express intention of improving their tournament performance.

"Now that a lot of attention is being paid, it's something we'll look at for the 2016 season," Bruce Dugan, Major League Gaming

"I know for a fact that top teams take it," Nathan* told me, adding he had only become aware of the use of Adderall within the last year. "My close friends have told me they have taken it," he said.

"I myself have never taken it, but with it now becoming more mainstream I've thought about it and had it offered to me. Especially now that's it's pretty easy to get it as people are selling it if you know the right people."

Another competitor, speaking under the condition of anonymity, said they didn't believe it was possible to compete at the highest level without the support of PEDs. "It 100 per cent has effects," they added. "[Players] overseas come down hard and you'd think they have like some mental problem [because] they're real slow at night time."

One CS:GO player went further, telling me about their personal experience. "I've done [Ritalin] a few times but not a regular thing, it does work," they said. "It will make me a lot more focused also it pumps me up and gets me more fired up."

When pressed, the player said they had taken it before tournaments although they had "never done it at LAN" -- meaning an offline event -- and that his teammates had not followed his lead. "But if it was used a lot and easy to get for me I'd [probably] use it more when playing," they admitted.

Some players who had competed internationally told me they only recently became aware of PEDs until recently. But the pairing of gamers and drugs -- whether they be performance enhancing or recreational -- is far from new.

Kory Friesen providing tips on-camera for Valve and the CS:GO blog a few years ago.

Meet Scott Bednarski. He’s as close as you can get to one of Australia's most successful gamers, having won national tournaments for Counter-Strike, Counter-Strike: Source, Natural Selection, Team Fortress 2, Day of Defeat, Left 4 Dead and Team Fortress Classic.

Bednarski, otherwise known as "Boomser", was also one of the few gamers fortunate enough to be a part of Sydney Underground, a salaried professional team that formed part of the Championship Gaming Series multi-gaming competition broadcast on DirecTV several years ago. You can see Bednarski standing next to his brother Brett (introduced as Tegs) in the below footage, one of a number of clips floating around on YouTube.

If anyone was likely to know about something untoward in Australia or New Zealand eSports, it was Bednarski. "Never in my time in Australia did I witness drugs to enhance game play spoken about," he told me. "That changed during my first trip internationally with the Americans."

That first trip was back in the heyday of the Cyberathlete Professional League, the organisation founded by Angel Munoz in 1997 that became the foundation upon which many players, clans, websites and organisations built their names on. The event itself was a World Tour event in Singapore back in 2006, the year after the CPL's global circus upheld Painkiller as a marquee eSports title despite minimal player or community support.

Australia's final performance at the event -- two teams flew over, one backed by a peripherals importer that made its name by distributing Razer products locally, the other sponsored by Stephen Stenhouse, a fruit and vegetable exporter from Queensland -- was middling at best, but the experience would prove formative for Bednarski when he travelled to the United States for the inaugural Championship Gaming Series season a year later.

"I knew a manager who bought weed for his players before match day," Bednarski told me. "Some players would take speed or [ecstasy] or weed claiming it made them play a lot calmer in front of a crowd. Some took Ritalin or Adderall."

The Australian contingent would have an opportunity of their own to partake though. "First night in Los Angeles, [redacted] knocked on our door and said, 'Hi Aussies, I got something for you'," Bednarski continued.

Sydney Undergound amidst the CGS frenzy. Image courtesy of HLTV.org.

"He laid his backpack on the table and [opened] it up with like 30 bags of weed. He said, 'What you guys want, I got this and that,'" Bednarski claimed.

It was a sobering experience for the Queenslander. "One of my idols walks into a room and shows thousands of dollars of weed … I lost respect for [redacted] then."

That didn't stop others from hopping on the bandwagon though, with Bednarski claiming that two Australians took recreational drugs before a televised match in the hope it would improve their chances.

When asked if any of the Australians had continued experimenting with substances when they returned home, he said he had never heard of it being a factor in Australia and it was not something anybody paid any attention to locally. However, he admitted that "there was an instance or two where they needed to be on some sort of high as they believed it made them play better on the grand final".

Bednarski did not identify those players or the grand final in question. I also reached out to other former Sydney Underground members to corroborate Bednarski's comments, but they either declined or were not in a position to confirm his story.

ESL is the first tournament to begin drug-testing their players. Image courtesy of ESL.

Bednarski's assertion that he has not heard of gamers today taking drugs, recreational or medicinal, does have a degree of plausibility. When I asked players from Counter-Strike (former and current players from the game's multiple iterations), League of Legends, Starcraft 2 and DOTA 2 about their experiences, all of them said they were unfamiliar with any local instances of PED usage.

The few that were aware pointed the finger directly at the first-person shooter scene and those fortunate enough to have international tournament experience claimed that the use of substances was understood to be the heaviest in North America.

"But to have this tiny little pill that makes you even better than that? You really weigh up the pros and cons; and the ability to step up onto another plane of superiority just by taking a tiny little tablet they give to regular little kids"

One player privately claimed that a large number of Call of Duty and Halo teams in North America are using Adderall and that it was an open secret. They added that it was common knowledge but not spoken about openly for fear of scaring sponsors and the potential financial damage it might cause individuals, teams, organisations and tournaments.

Another suggested it was less common for Australians to use PEDs because doctors and medical professionals are less likely to hand out prescriptions without a thorough diagnosis. I'm not able to verify this for myself, but it was a shared belief among all of the players I spoke to.

Kyle "Vilesyder" Colyer, a veteran Australian Call of Duty player who qualified for the Call of Duty Championship this year, echoed a very similar sentiment when I asked him for his thoughts. "My main frustration is that it's becoming a 'well my rivals are on it, so I need to be on it to be level with them' sort of deal," Colyer said.

"That's probably my least favourite aspect of the trend, because this is everyone's mindset and the choice is being taken away from you."

Colyer insisted that he didn't believe the use of PEDs was new or particularly prevalent, and he pointed out that while he wasn't condoning or validating their use "players aren't rolling in cash either". He explained: "It's still tough to make a living doing this, and players can't be flying around with tablets on them after events and they aren't scoffing into fat bags of pills on their toilet breaks."

"It's not going to get stamped out any time soon, the cost is far too high to the majority of eSports leagues. Players are going to get it if they want it, exactly the same as every other drug anywhere in the world. I'd rather players be educated and know the limits, effects and interactions so they stay safe."

Colyer's views are hard to disagree with: if players want to subvert the rules they will, much like the three players who used Steam Workshop to download hacks for an offline CS:GO tournament, find a way.

Image courtesy of ACLPro.

But perhaps the most prevailing factor for Australian gamers that choose to enhance their capabilities through external means is the lack of tournaments. Because there are so few of them every year, compared to the suite of ongoing leagues and major tournaments in Asia, Europe and the United States, players feel the reward far outweighs the potential risk, if any.

That was the case with one player who provided a statement to me anonymously about their personal experience with Ritalin. I have not been able to independently verify their comments, although much of the description echoes the information players told me privately about their experiences and it also matches the general experience other players have anonymously described in stories that have already been published over the last few months.

"My close friends have told me they have taken it … I myself have never taken it, but with it now becoming more mainstream I've thought about it and had it offered to me. Especially now that it's pretty easy to get it as people are selling it if you know the right people."

"It took around 10 minutes to kick in and lasted an hour and a half and when it did, the focus was incredible," the player said. "I'd heard of it affecting players communication (as in they would be so focused that they didn't communicate properly, that whole CS thing or whatever) but I found it had the opposite effect on me; it just amplified every skill I had. I was so totally in tune with the game and my team-mates that for the duration of each match.

"There's definitely a point you reach when you know the comedown is happening, and you think, if I take another will it double the effect? Will I be twice as accurate, will I be twice as fast? I can definitely see those with less self control just saying 'yep' and doubling down and pushing the limits near the addictive levels."

Dealing with the physical effects of Ritalin was a concern, although some study online helped assuage any concerns. "I'd done complete research and knew the effects/side effects and made a conscious effort to not show the more telling physical ones," they said. "The worst of it was an elevated heart rate, but it wasn't anything more significant than when I play sports or am in the heat of the moment."

"What irritated me so much is that it's a tiny little pill and a tiny chemical change to a lot of what's already there, the skill is there, I am capable of doing these things, just this little bit of extra stuff makes what's there so much better."

The production of eSports has ramped up significantly -- and so have the stakes. Image courtesy of Dreamhack and Adela Sznajder.

The strongest element of this player's experience is that inescapable feeling of being at the peak of competition, something the vast majority of people -- or in their words, the "top 1 per cent of the entire fucking planet at a thing" -- simply could not comprehend.

"You're literally better at something than everyone you ever meet on a day to day basis; have you ever felt that? The feeling of that alone is incredible and playing against the best in the heat of the moment is … it's just insane, you cannot top that, that alone is an addiction which drives you day in day out and I've competed for years without even considering anything performance enhancing other than eating healthier."

"But to have this tiny little pill that makes you even better than that? You really weigh up the pros and cons; and the ability to step up onto another plane of superiority just by taking a tiny little tablet they give to regular little kids so they can go about their lives normally really seems to outweigh the cons that really only come into effect at high doses, especially when you only play major life changing tournaments maybe three to four times a year."

"When the high of winning feels so good -- and is so lucrative -- why wouldn't you take the plunge?"

Professional gaming has grown exponentially in the last few years. Image courtesy of Callofduty.com.

Amidst the conversations and the background for this story, the Electronic Sports League (ESL) -- organisers of the tournament where Friesen claimed he and his teammates were under the influence -- announced it would be introducing skin tests to dissuade other competitors from following their lead.

"I knew a manager who bought weed for his players before match day … some players would take speed or [ecstasy] or weed claiming it made them play a lot calmer in front of a crowd."

ESL then went one step further and announced they would follow the World Anti-Doping Agency(WADA)'s lead, which prohibits Adderall (and alternatives like Ritalin) but has no restrictions against marijuana. It's the furthest any organisation has gone to date, even though they aren't the first organisation to prohibit the use of PEDs.

Major League Gaming (MLG), the organisation which helped popularise Halo and Call of Duty on console before branching into other tournaments, has been adopting WADA's prohibited list for years, despite never testing a single player. "Now that a lot of attention is being paid, it's something we'll look at for the 2016 season," Bruce Dugan, a spokesperson for MLG, told the New York Times.

It's not exactly the most delicate statement, but in their defence there are some significant practical issues with taking the high ground. How would you go about enforcing drug tests? Do you rely on skin tests only, as the ESL has done? Do you go a step further and ask for a blood or urine sample? How do you collect those samples? Who stores them? Do the samples have be stored in a particular environment? Who do you assign to collect the samples? How do you test them? Do you pay a third party? How exactly does the process work?

eSports has come a long way -- the above image, courtesy of ESWC, is from one of the world's largest tournaments in 2004.

Even before any of those questions can be answered, however, the main problem is money. The majority of Australian events run without the direct support of a developer typically run at a loss. Most organisers, much like the owners of "professional" teams in Australia, end up paying for the event out of their own pocket, funding the venture through their day job.

"That's probably my least favourite aspect of the trend, because this is everyone's mindset and the choice is being taken away from you."

If local tournaments and the people behind them struggle to break even, how on earth are they suddenly going to be able to bring in a third party to oversee, screen and guarantee the authenticity of drug tests? The general consensus among organisers I spoke to was that the eSports scene, regardless of the specific game, lacked the size, scope and frequency of tournaments for players to really bother with PEDs. The risk/reward, in their eyes, simply wasn't there.

I reached out to major developers and asked for a comment on this story and their procedures in the past and going forward. Wargaming declined to comment, Riot Games said they didn't currently test for PEDs -- which included the recent OPL finals, where Chiefs won the right to compete in an international wildcard tournament -- and Blizzard were yet to comment by the time of writing.

So how serious is the issue here in Australia? Perhaps a clue can be found in comments from Team Immunity's James Quinn, who is in Germany to compete in the largest CS:GO tournament to date, ESL One Cologne.

"eSports is becoming bigger and bigger and starting to be treated like a real sport and just like real sports we need anti-doping measures in place," Quinn told HLTV.org. "Everyone who competes is playing at the highest level for such a large sum of money and reputation and cheating is not the only thing we need to be watching for."

In other words, players don't consider PEDs cheating to begin with. And that's where the real problem starts.


* Names have been changed to protect the players identity.


Comments

    Dippa.

    It's the new first; have you had your Dippa today?

    its funny coz they are only doing themselves harm

    adderal/ritalin = amphetamine which leads to meth

    and we have a big enough problem with meth than for these idiots to get on the bandwagon

    Last edited 19/08/15 12:09 pm

      Don't drink water. 100% of drug users have been shows to drink water before hitting harder drugs.

        amphetamine is so addictive and it doesn't matter what way you take it, you will end up hooked for a fix

        do you even know your drugs? obviously you dont

          Pretty sure he's joking.

            the amphetamine problem in Australia is no joke

            unless you want to die or end up in an asylum for the rest of your life

            Last edited 19/08/15 1:15 pm

              I'm more concerned about that water thing, I drink at least 8 glasses a day :(

                Depends. Have you noticed yourself going to the toilet more often than regularly?

              You're talking about ice, numbnuts. Although it has been around for ages, the price has dropped considerably in the last 15 years, and it's now cheap enough to be widely available. It does send people cray cray, but not everyone. You're probably looking at about 10% of users who get addicted to that degree.

              Speed does not calm you down for a match, it gives you heightened sense if used properly, which is nigh on impossible for a casual user. It's great for RTS. In my experience it's usually used in conjuction with late night gaming or LANs.

              Weed does calm you down, and mixed with booze it's a sure fire way to underperform and make an excellent fool of yourself, whilst you enjoy the whole time! You can't go wrong with weed, with the exception that a lot of sellers will also expose you to ice. Want to stop the ice epidemic? Legalise recreational use of hooch and there won't be any contact between the kids and ice.

              Pingas are a whole different kettle of fish. I would love to meet the gamer that can compete at a pro level while under the influence of a quality pill. Obviously popular in the clubbing scene, but can also be used for very mellow and spun out personal adventures with people. Might be good with clicking games like TWD, Jurassic Park and GoT. Personally I go bushwalking for 4 hours.

                Been smoking weed for over 16 years... not one of my dealers offered me ice.

                Wouldn't dream of dispiting your other claims, as I have little to no experience with other drugs except alcohol.

                Last edited 20/08/15 8:12 am

            But it's true - http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-qRuZd0sKJSk/UC6IXVuAMjI/AAAAAAAAFGw/hO1rSVywtFg/s1600/Dangerous+Water+is.jpg

          So where are all the kids with ADD that are hooked on meth? Today Tonight would be over that every week. THE HORROR!

            the kids basically are, ADD medication is called dexamphetamine sulfate
            and today tonight has already done heaps of stories on it

            Last edited 19/08/15 1:34 pm

              Because that's where we should all be getting our medicinal advice from kids! A tabloid journalism show!

              Now to check pedophiles aren't trying to enter my house from my 3ds...

              I really hope you are joking about today tonight... you know that is media bullshit at its best right? Just watch one episode of Chaser and watch them tear holes through every one of their stories

                Today Tonight is no joke. I need to know which brand of milk is harming my children and if the spring rolls I bought from Coles are going to explode and burn my house down.

                  Tonight, what you didn't know about you pants that can harm your family!

                whats not bullsh is the data on wikipedia if you would care to look up adderal

                If you were involved in mental health you would see the scope of the situation, not from crappy news sites like today tonight

                Last edited 19/08/15 2:40 pm

          Ease up turbo. I (and many tens or even hundreds of thousands of people throughout oz) have taken speed and coke and shards multiple times throughout our lives. And guess fucking what - we are all fully functioning, reasonable members of society. You don't take a hit of meth and immediately turn into some Wire-esque fiend. Seriously, it is ridiculous drug-war driven attitudes like this that have cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars.

            you start smoking cigarettes by having the first drag.... then first ciggie... then you buy a pack

            its not rocket science

            the system can not handle all the meth users. and they are now giving them sedation injections and sending them to live on the streets.

            sure you have tried it once or twice... big woop mate.

              I had ciggies before, never bought a pack
              10/10 would smoke a ciggie again.

              "amphetamine is so addictive and it doesn't matter what way you take it, you will end up hooked for a fix"

              "sure you have tried it once or twice... big woop mate"

              Your arguments are an idiot.

              I've been there dude, as with a whole lot of my mates... yet we're all still here, working or studying full time. We're not on the streets, or looking for our next fix (or on sedation injections). You need to stop beleiving everything you read in the media/wikipedia
              I'd go into a lot more detail, but being a public forum, i'd rather not. Suffice it to say that i understand it probably a lot better then what you do
              Edit: Don't get me wrong either, I'd never encourage it, or anything like that, as those kinds of drugs do have the potential to ruin your life, but that doesn't make us fiends, or doesn't mean we'll be breaking into your house the second we get the chance...

              Last edited 19/08/15 4:13 pm

            I really wish the wire-esque look wasn't a by-product of being a drug fiend. I am quite wirey cos I have a stupidly fast metabolism so I constantly get the "he must be on drugs" thing from people. Stupid drug fiends ruining it for the poor innocent casual pot smoker like myself :(

            While I agree with you about most of the substances you’ve mentioned, I don’t think anyone anywhere should ever be telling people that one hit of meth is harmless.

            That stuff is next-level bad news and nobody anywhere should be taking it.

            People can draw their own lines and make up their minds about what’s a “gateway” and what isn’t (everything’s a gateway to everything else if you want to be silly enough about it), but IMO meth is dangerous, life ruining shit and nothing good is going to come out of taking it. The message to everyone from society as a whole should be a pretty solid “just don’t”.

            I’m saying this as a heavy drinking, weed smoking, occasionally dabbling in other things type. I’ve never seen anything destroy people like that stuff does, it’s not “drug-war driven attitudes”- go down to your local ER any night of the week and you can see people with every ounce of their humanity missing trying to bite the staff.

            The line “try everything once” is a fine one, but it should only apply to things that are for reasonable human consumption. Nobody should try eating dog-sh*t, nobody should try drinking battery acid and nobody should be taking meth. Just don’t.

              Ultimately I agree with you Foggy - methamphetemines are dangerous and you probably shouldn't take them. But if you do, you aren't a monster. And the discussion around drug use in Australia is totally bound up with mythologising drug users into bloodthirsty animals beyond all help, rather than identifying the root causes that push people towards substance abuse. Tony Abbott bangs on and on about the fucking ice epidemic in Australia, and then announces a one million dollar hotline to dob in your neighbours. No discussion about treatment. No discussion about education. Just get out there and fucken snitch on vulnerable people. The system will fuck them for you.

                I think the hotline is more of a ‘dob-in-a-dealer’ type thing though right?

                You’re right about there being a lack of assistance for those with addictions, but I’m also supportive of the community dobbing in people who are dealing meth. There’s nothing vulnerable about those people, those people are rolling in cash at tremendous cost to the community.

                I do think that most people draw reasonable lines on what is and isn’t acceptable use of amphetamines. Unless you live in a cave most of us know a few people who dabble in lesser forms of the drug recreationally without major issue and can see a difference between the Government cracking down on marijuana because it turned Little Jimmy into a lazy communist and the government taking strong action against the spread of Ice.

                There’s times when the Government overreacts and there’s times when the community reasonably wants them to do something and I think for reasonable people meth is past that line.

                Personally I draw that line at Coke. That stuff all comes out of Mexico and those guys kill tens of thousands of people every year. I’d rather not support organisations that sew people’s faces to soccer balls.

                  Yeah as soon as you apply social costs to illicit drugs it gets ugly fast. But I think that is what should ultimately drive governments towards legalisation of drugs. Control it and tax it, and take the power out of the hands of a bunch of murderous south americans and shitbag bikies from Griffith.

                  no its not a harmless bit of cannabis smoke.... phets are far far more evil

                  Last edited 19/08/15 5:23 pm

              agree! thankyou foggy,
              that its what im trying to say

              Last edited 19/08/15 5:32 pm

          http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-qRuZd0sKJSk/UC6IXVuAMjI/AAAAAAAAFGw/hO1rSVywtFg/s1600/Dangerous+Water+is.jpg

          do you? obviously you don't. speed isn't that addictive, and the willpower required to abstain from another hit is almost nil. piss off with this not even once crap

          Last edited 20/08/15 9:27 pm

    “Some players would take speed or [ecstasy] or weed claiming it made them play a lot calmer in front of a crowd."

    As someone who dabbled in various substances in my younger days I can't fathom how ecstasy would be calming. Sweaty palms, eye wobbles, increased heart rate... Not sure it'd be all that calming or even performance enhancing. The game's music and colours would be enhanced though!

      lol'd a lot here. I imagine playing LoL would be a lot like

      "Holy shit.... the colourrrrrrrrssssss.... I can lick them....."

        Or you would just start trying to have D&M's with the other team instead of defending your lane...
        Either way not very performance enhancing I would imagine.

        I'm guessing they probably meant Ecstasy as in Eccy's, as in pills, as in the dealer said they were ecstasy but 99.99% chance it's just speed pressed into a pill...
        From someone who totally doesn't dabble in drugs at all, real MDMA is pretty tricky to get these days.

      haha read my mind, I didn't read the comments before posting my own but could not agree more. That would be the one thing i'd NOT take if I was trying to win... or trying to do anything productive what so ever lol

    I actually used to be prescribed Ritalin to manage my ADD; initially in primary and high school, then again later in life when I found myself having notable trouble focusing. I took myself off it again because I really wasn't sure if it was making any difference and it was costing me a lot of money to keep up on the prescriptions.

    If its effect on treating the medical condition it was created to deal with is variable, I can't see why any other idiot would want to take it on the off chance it would improve their gaming skills.

      For people who need it it's meant to take focus to a normal level (or slightly higher at worst) but for those that dont need it thats when the effects are obvious and takes focus to an extreme level.

    Ectasy? Yeah I'm really doubting that would help you play lol "Woah dude, look at the colours and shit man. Oh dude, look what happens when I shoot this wall, woah"

    OT: I'm honestly not suprised, I don't take drugs when I game, but I'll bring out the red bull when I'm jumping on for some PvP pretty much everytime, or I'll smash a few coffees to perk me up. Speed and all the rest is just another form of caffine (speaking very broadly), so it really is no suprise that they are taking it at all, especially with the stakes so high.
    Yeah, its not good, but neither is it suprising to me. Drug testing is the way to go I think and the only way to stamp it out

      I think they're just using the term ecstasy loosely to refer to speed pills as most people do these days; proper MDMA isn't easy to get anymore.

      What I don't understand is how weed is performance enhancing? Maybe it just affects some people differently to others, and for some this translates to an advantage in games.
      Weed sure as hell doesn't enhance my performance in games; it sure does enhance the immersion though..

        Being a smoker myself, i find it can keep you level headed and kind of reduces the panic moments. I don't think it makes you better, i think it just keeps you mellow, and level headed. That being said, it also affects your reaction time, and makes you quite a lot slower to react to those 'quick scope' situations. I'd definately not call it preformance enhancing, not by a long shot. Perhaps if they're combining it with something else though?

        Last edited 19/08/15 2:20 pm

        Actually it's not.
        As it says in the article WADA doesn't have any restrictions for weed.
        I'm pretty sure a few years ago a Snowboarder who won gold at the Olympics tested positive for weed. They took his gold medal but he appealed and got it back because it was decided weed is not performance enhancing.

        Last edited 19/08/15 3:50 pm

          I think in the snowboarder's case the medal was reinstated because he claimed it was from passive smoke -- someone else at a party.

    I just dropped 2 tabs of acid (really). Maybe I should go play video games..

      Or just turn the moniter off and stare at the screen. Would seem like you're playing games anyway :P

    All I know is that if I smoke a joint and then try and play dark souls, I am about barely outdoing a twitch stream.

    Nice article Alex! It's always enjoyable reading a piece of work where someone's taken time to research and write up a piece.

    I for one think anyone taking performance enhancing drugs is a complete scumbag. The 'everyone else is doing it so I have to level the playing field' reasoning is complete BS showing an intense lack of both sportsmanship and spine.

    Good article. Small point:
    “I know for a fact that top teams take it,” Nathan* told me, adding he had only become aware of the use of Adderall, or Ritalin as it is more commonly known in Australia and New Zealand, within the last year.

    Adderall and Ritalin are not the same thing. However they are both commonly used to treat similar disorders.

      Cheers for that. I pointed out in a paragraph before that that the two were different (ritalin being an alternative treatment) but I've fixed the offending sentence.

    I twied ice 1nce or 2wice nd didnt get addicted dnt demonize me the gubamint is lying 2 u. Such rubbish. Anyone who's had anything to do with drugs knows ice is the most scum bag substance on earth. Congratulations for being able to "try" something and not get addicted. I think ice users need help but fuck any money the government does put in will do nothing. The police do nothing, not because they dont have the power, they dont have the will. For every channel 7 headline of a massive bust that same day 20 other shipments of the same size made it through. The only way you can win the war on drugs is to end it and start giving people the drug they want and helping them. It sounds daunting but it would work a lot better than pissing in the wind. Sorry this isnt about weird counter strike performance adhd dudes, also someone should stream amnesia dark descent on acid.

    Wow this is blowing up more than it should.

    Some kid eating his mother's self diagnosed "Aggressive Dickhead Disorder" pills should not be considered on the same shelf as blood bagging in the Tour De France IMO.

    eSports may be racking up big bucks these days but at the end of the day they are playing video games. Shit, i prefer a beer or two before a CS ladder match to get calm and ready. Would that be considered performance enhancing? How far do they really want to push this?

    The fact that this discussion has drifted into "a governments war on drugs" is stupid and counter productive and i challenge anyone to play a competitive game of CS "WELL" flying on tabs or a decent pill.

    Nobody has brought up the crux of the situation;
    Professional players sign a contract to be represented and sponsored. There's a 99.99% chance the contract stipulates no illegal narcotics, substance or alcohol abuse.

    Taking medication without a subscription is legally considered abuse.

    This is where the line gets drawn. There's no need for keyboard stories of how far we've all been to the edge, trying this, trying that "and today I'm still a fully functional human being".

    I understand that I'm probably trying to explain this to a lot of kids, teens and young adults (in age, or attitude); so here it is: If you break the rules of your contract, you deserve to be punished.

    Now you can't punish someone without monitoring them, to prove they've broken the rules - hence I'm happy that tournament producers are showing a growing interest in enforcing banned substance testing. Nobody should have an upper hand and if the argument is 99% of attendees are using substances, the 1% shouldn't suffer a disadvantage simply for following the rules.

    IMHO.

    Anyone using ADHD medication for performance enhancement is a complete idiot. I've been medically prescribed Dexamphetamine and Ritalin and the side effects are horrendous. Enjoy your heart problems, uncontrollable body spasms and horrific blood noses. (this was all from two tablets a day. One at breakfast one at lunch.) I'm all for people taking weed and LSD but seriously, Amphetamines SHOULD be banned. They'll just enhance you into a hospital.

    Last edited 20/08/15 7:44 am

    Great meaty article. Reading, I expected it to be by Serrels. Pleasantly surprised that the number of great journalists on the site is increasing.

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