Performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) are most often associated with physically demanding sports – baseball or mixed martial arts, for example – where increased strength would directly lead to a competitive advantage.

As it turns out, the use of PEDs is also a concern in competitive gaming – a bit ironic considering many people still don’t view eSports as a true sport.

Professional gaming company Electronic Sports League (ESL) has partnered with German-based Nationale Anti-Doping Agentur (NADA) to create an anti-doping policy that it says is fair, feasible and respects the privacy of gamers whilst simultaneously providing conclusive testing results.

The ESL said the growing visibility and popularity of eSports as well as increased prize pools make it not only more tempting for teams and players to break the rules, but also more damaging to the sport as a whole when they do.

The ESL said it is also reaching out to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to help enforce and spread its anti-PED policy to other regions including Asia, Australia and the US.

The policy comes as a result of recent statements made by processional Counter-Strike player Kory “SEMPHIS” Friesen. In an interview with Motherboard, Friesen said he and other members of team Cloud9 used the psychostimulant Adderall during a recent gaming tournament.

The prescription drug is typically prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. It’s comprised of amphetamines that are known to increase stamina, endurance and reaction time. Due to these performance-enhancing properties, the drug is banned at most major sporting events at the collegiate, national and international levels.

The ESL has yet to produce a list of banned substances and penalties for those caught doping. More information on the matter is expected soon although the ESL said it will administer random drug tests at its upcoming ESL One Cologne tournament next month.

Images courtesy Helena Kristiansson