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History of Drug Testing

History of Drug Testing

BSCG Background and History

Background and History of Drug Testing & Dietary Supplements

The modern age of drug testing and sports doping essentially started at the 1983 Pan Am Games in Venezuela. A group of scientists created a new method for steroid testing as the two largest sporting events of the year were about to take place,  the Pan Games and world track and field championships.

The Pan Am drug testing caught a myriad of athletes off-guard; a dozen American athletes across multiple fields suddenly withdrew from the competition and returned to the U.S., and at least another dozen athletes from other countries also left without explanation.

Of course, the epitome of widespread doping and PED (performance enhancing drugs) use came with athlete Ben Johnson. Ben Johnson, a Canadian sprinter, was stripped of his gold medal at the 1988 Olympic Games in Korea  when tests came back positive for stanozolol, an anabolic steroid. While Johnson claimed that his herbal drink was contaminated,  Olympic officials declined his explanation and suspended him from competition for two years. In addition,  International Olympic Committee officials send the Canadian home from the competition in disgrace.

For more than three decades, the Catlin heritage of excellence in analytical testing has been a driving force within international sport drug testing. Often described as a father of drug testing in sports, Dr. Don Catlin founded the first anti-doping lab in the United States in 1982 and established testing methods and approaches that remain the Olympic standard today. The Catlin team has provided testing services to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC), U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), MLB, NFL, NCAA, the U.S. military, several Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup.

The Pan Am drug testing caught a lot of athletes by surprise… a dozen American athletes in various events suddenly withdrew from the competition and returned to the U.S., and at least another dozen athletes from other countries also left without explanation.

Nineteen athletes in total failed drug tests at the 1983 Pan Ams.

Drawing the line between drugs and dietary supplements became increasingly complex in the 1990s as substances like Ephedrine, Androstenedione and other new designer drugs became popular ingredients in dietary supplement products. Sport authorities and regulators like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) struggled with positive drug tests and growing health concerns.

Dr. Catlin and his team were at the forefront of the efforts to ensure supplement safety for athletes and consumers. In a seminal article published in 2000 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), they were the first to highlight the concern that legal supplements could be contaminated with illegal drugs. Catlin’s group was also the first to identify and expose infamous new designer drugs including 6-OXO, Madol, Methasterone, Methylhexaneamine, and Tren that were masquerading as ‘legal’ supplements, and worked alongside the FDA, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and media to combat these problematic substances.

Unfortunately, the regulations outlined in Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994; and the FDA’s 21 C.F.R. 111 – Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for Dietary Supplements have not been adequately designed or enforced to prevent dangerous drugs from adulterating dietary supplements.

In 2004, BSCG began offering its supplement certification program as an effective remedy to supplement quality control and safety concerns, enabling manufacturers to establish their brands and products as safe, reputable and drug free as well as providing athletes and consumers with trusted supplement options.

Background and History of Drug Testing & Dietary Supplements


Supplement Products

Finished products are Certified Drug Free® with annual label claim & contaminant testing.

Raw Materials/Ingredients

Ingredients lots Certified Drug Free® with annual identity and contaminant testing.


GMP audit and testing products and ingredients for drugs, identity & contaminants.


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