What Is Going On At JADCO?

Anne Shirley

On August 19, popular US magazine Sports Illustrated published an article on the standard of drug testing in Jamaica. Perhaps the allegations would have been easily dismissed by local track loyalists, but the source of the article gave many pause: it was written by former Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) boss, Renee Anne Shirley.

Shirley highlighted a number of inefficiencies and gaps in JADCO’s operations. For instance, she stated that only 179 tests were administered in 2012, with only one out-of-competition test carried out before the London Olympics. Naturally, this has created a veritable firestorm, as Shirley’s revelations have given critics of Jamaica’s recent winning streak in athletics something to ‘substantiate’ their claims that we are up to no good. The fact that a total of eight senior athletes in three sporting disciplines have tested positive for banned substances in recent months doesn’t help, either. Certainly, things are looking ‘sticky’ and sport fans are justifiably concerned.

While many are content to question Shirley’s motives for these unflattering revelations, JADCO’s challenges are not exactly news. They have been highlighted and lamented in the local media by Shirley herself, prior to the end of her brief stint at the helm. The Gleaner even wrote this editorial in early August, urging JADCO to be more transparent and cooperative. Her latest revelation, this time to UK paper The Telegraph that the commission has “never carried out a blood test” comes a day after another British paper, The Guardian, ran a scathing editorial on JADCO’s seemingly unperturbed reaction to the swirling chaos, as the World Anti-Doping Agency, WADA, was informed that the commission “could not accommodate” their proposed “extraordinary audit” until 2014. Just one day before, it was revealed in The Gleaner that WADA had actually been invited to Jamaica by the Prime Minister herself. There seems to be a breakdown in communication somewhere, certainly.

While Jamaican track and field fans anxiously await some clarity in this matter, let us take a closer look at JADCO and what it was created to do.

According to the commission’s page on the Office of the Prime Minister’s website:

The Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission (JADCO) was formally established with the passage of the Anti-Doping in Sport Act, 2008 as the national anti-doping organisation.

JADCO embodies the general principles of the National Sport Policy: principles of fairness and fair play, accountabilityrespect, trust, honesty, hard work and healthy living.

JADCO’s mandate is to foster a doping-free environment in Jamaica that promotes the ethics and spirit of sport and deters the use of banned doping practices in sport through education, testing, advocacy and programme coordination.

While JADCO’s primary role is to regularly test national athletes to ensure compliance, public education is central to the implementation of JADCO’s programme.

Following Shirley’s SI article, JADCO responded in The Gleaner, noting that  several initiatives have been undertaken since February 2012 to secure the full independence of JADCO. These steps include:

  1. An increase in JADCO’s budget from $27.9m in 2011/2012 to $55.8m in 2012/2013. The budget increased further in the 2013/2014 financial year to $63.4m.
  2. A Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) Committee, an independent body, was established by the Commissioners on August 3, 2012 in keeping with the provisions of the Anti-Doping in Sport Act. The TUE Committee has considered and taken decisions on the applications they have received for TUE Certificates.
  3. Steady increase in the number of tests conducted each year – see table below

Jadco 2

Another part of JADCO’s mandate is public education. The commission launched it’s official campaign in August 2009. It has since started the second phase of the programme, using popular music to convey its messages under the theme, ‘We Don’t Need Dope to Cope.’ This phase also features leading entertainers and athletes. 

Other efforts include visits to high schools, colleges and sporting associations across the island, where JADCO officials conducted workshops and information sessions. Other pre-competition sessions have been conducted with athletes such as netballers, swimmers, cricketers and juniors. At each workshop and session, participants are given pocket-sized guides outlining prohibited substances.  JADCO has also produced several online documents and newsletters, including True Spirit, a lifestyle e-magazine.


See below a list of Jamaican athletes who have tested positive for banned substances over the years:

  Athlete Discipline Substance Year Sanction
1 Marvin Anderson 200m Stimulant (Methylxanthine) 2009 3-month ban
2 James Beckford Long jump Ephedrine 1997 3-month ban; probed in 2012 as part of a blood doping scandal involving German doctor Andreas Franke
3 Trevor Black Triple jump Unknown The Vere Technical High School student was the first Jamaican to be banned for using a prohibited substance
4 Dominique Blake 400m Ephedrine, Methylhexanamine 2006, 2013 9-month ban, Six-year ban
5 Yohan Blake 100m, 200m Stimulant (Methylxanthine) 2009 3-month ban
6 Sherri-Ann Brooks 100m, 200m Stimulant (Methylxanthine) 2009 3-month ban, later cleared
7 Veronica Campbell Brown 100m, 200m Diuretic (furosemide) 2013 Public warning
8 Ricardo Cunningham 800m Stimulant (Pseudoephedrine) 2012 Reprimand
9 Julien Dunkley 100m Steroid (Boldenone) 2008 2-year ban
10 Kenneth Edwards Taekwondo Diuretic (hydrochlorothiazide) 2013 Case pending
11 Robert Foster 110m hurdles Stimulant (Ephedrine) 1994 Disqualified from 1994 Commonwealth Games; no further information available
12 Allodin Fothergill 400m Stimulant (Methylxanthine) 2009 3-month ban
13 Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce 100m, 200m Oxycodone 2009 6-month ban
14 Jermaine Hue Football Glucocorticoid steroid (Dexamethasone) 2013 9-month ban
15 Patrick Jarrett 100m Steroid (Stanozolol) 2001 2-year ban
16 Suzette Lee Triple jump Salbutamol 2005 Public warning
17 Aston Morgan 100m, long jump Steroids 1995 Unknown
18 Steve Mullings 100m, 200m Methyltestoterone, Furosemide 2004, 2011 2-year ban, lifetime ban
19 Merlene Ottey 100m, 200m Anabolic steroid (nandrolone) 1999 2-year ban, later lifted
20 Asafa Powell 100m Stimulant (oxilophrine or methylsynephrine) 2013 Hearing set for January 2014
21 Donovan Powell 60m, 100m Ephedrine 1995 3-month ban
22 Allison Randall Discus Diuretic (Hydrochlorothiazide) 2013 Case pending
23 Damar Robinson SARM (Andarine) 2013 Case pending
24 Dorian Scott Shot put Cannabis 2006 Public warning, stripped of medal
25 Sherone Simpson 100m, 200m Stimulant (oxilophrine or methylsynephrine) 2013 Hearing set for January 2014
26 Traves Smikle Shot put, Discus Diuretic (Hydrochlorothiazide) 2013 Case pending
27 Lansford Spence 400m Stimulant (Methylxanthine) 2009 3-month ban
28 Ray Stewart 100m Trafficking and administering of prohibited substances 2010 Banned for life from coaching
29 Bobbie-Gaye Wilkins 400m (Selective androgen receptor modulator or SARM) Andarine 2009 2-year ban
30 Christopher Williams 200m Amphetamine and levmetamphetamine 2009 2-year ban
































Also read Unmasking ‘Doping’ In Sports.