A former member of Cloud9’s Counter Strike: Global Offensive team has admitted to taking performance enhancing drugs during the recent ESL One Katawice event in Poland earlier this year. The candid nature of Kory Friesen’s (playing under the tag SEMPHIS) admission and non-reaction from his interviewer seem to indicate that this is not unusual for the scene; nor is it unexpected information.
Friesen, who left Cloud9 in April, stated that the entire team was on Adderall during the tournament as part of an answer to a question about team communications. The interviewer, Mohan “Launders” Govindasamy, barely reacts to the admission and fails to pursue it any further.
Adderall is an Amphetamine generally used to treat disorders like attention deficit disorder and the more severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, the nature of the drug that increases concentration and focus also makes it popular among American students who consume it to study for exams at the last minute.
In recent months, Adderall has been increasingly linked to stories about doping in eSports. Admittedly, eSports does not regulate drug use among competitors; mainly because the advantages of performance enhancing drugs on a video game is not proven. However, recent stories paint a picture of increasing use of drugs among competitors as they attempt to gain an edge over their opponents. The similarly increasing stakes of eSports tournaments could potentially be contributing to the problem.
Most tournament organisers do not admit to players taking any sorts of drugs to gain an advantage. In fact, most competitions have rules against the use of drugs or alcohol during tournaments. It should be noted that there is no testing done against eSports competitors, mainly due to the lack of oversight, which means that any doping will likely still go undiscovered.
This is compounded by the fact that many American competitors has prescriptions for drugs like Adderall, and require it to function properly in society. Simply banning the substance from competitions may have unforeseen consequences.
If eSports continues to grow at the current rate, it may do well for tournament organisers to agree on a method for handling performance enhancing drugs. Especially if the nascent activity intends to achieve its goal of becoming an officially recognised sport.