Drug Free Sport New Zealand

Clean athletes, clean sport: anti-doping information

Surf Life Saving New Zealand (SLSNZ) is committed to clean sport and rejects cheating through the use of prohibited substances and methods. Clean athletes follow the anti-doping rules, know the health risks of doping, and understand the importance of the testing regime to deter and detect doping, and protect clean athletes.

SLSNZ has adopted New Zealand’s Sports Anti-Doping Rules (the Rules), which means that these Rules apply to all [NSO] members, regardless of your role or the level at which you compete.

SLSNZ works in partnership with Drug Free Sport New Zealand (DFSNZ) to support athletes to compete clean, providing education material and resources available to help you understand your anti-doping rights and responsibilities: https://drugfreesport.org.nz/


What are the Sports Anti-Doping Rules?

How do I find out what is banned?

What if I need to take medication that contains a prohibited substance?

What are the risks of taking supplements?

Will I be drug tested?

How do I report suspicious activity?

Education and resources


What are the sports anti-doping rules?

All members of SLSNZ are bound by New Zealand’s Sports Anti-Doping Rules. The Rules provide the means to implement the World Anti-Doping Code in New Zealand.  The Code works in conjunction with a range of International Standards which aims to promote a consistent approach to anti-doping worldwide.

While testing is an important part of anti-doping – and positive tests are the source of many anti-doping rule violations (ADRVs) – you don’t have to be tested to fall foul of the Rules.  An increasing number of anti-doping rule violations are detected through means other than testing, such as through investigations DFSNZ carries out based on intelligence it receives about suspected doping. 

In New Zealand, many anti-doping rule violations are unintentional, where an athlete commits  a violation not because they intended to dope, but because they were not aware of the rules or acted irresponsibly.      

Below are some examples of how you could end up before a tribunal facing ADRV proceedings and potentially a ban from all sport.  A detailed list of all the ADRVs is on the DFSNZ website.

  • Taking a supplement that is contaminated with a prohibited substance and returning a positive test;
  • Taking a medication that contains a prohibited substance and returning a positive test without a therapeutic use exemption in place (or not being eligible to apply for one after being tested).
  • Purchasing a prohibited substance on the internet (for your own use or for use by another person);
  • Receiving coaching or other sports related advice from someone who is currently serving a ban for doping;
  • Providing fraudulent information to an anti-doping organisation during testing or as part of an investigation.

All athletes and support personnel need to ensure they abide by the Rules.


How do I find out what is banned?

You can find out what substances and methods that are banned in sport by checking the Prohibited List. The Prohibited List is published by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and comes into effect on 1 January every year.  It details all substances and methods which are prohibited or banned in sport. A substance or method may be included on the list if it meets any two of the following criteria:

  • It has the potential to enhance sporting performance
  • It presents an actual or potential health risk to the athlete
  • It violates the spirit of sport

You can also use the medication check feature on DFSNZ’s website, or phone 0800 DRUG FREE (378 437).


What if I need to take medication that contains a prohibited substance?

Many medications contain substances which are prohibited in sport. Any athlete who is sick or injured needs to carefully consider the medications they take, in consultation with their doctor, to ensure they avoid prohibited substances.

To check whether a medication is permitted in sport, please visit the Medication Check page on the DFSNZ website.

Athletes can apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) if they need to take medication which is prohibited in sport.


Do I apply in advance, or only after being tested?

If you’re competing at the national level in a particular sport, you may need to apply for a TUE before you take medication which contains a prohibited substance. Check to see whether your sport and level of competition mean you need to apply for a TUE ahead of time.

If you don’t require a TUE in advance and return a positive test, DFSNZ will contact you and give you the opportunity to apply for a backdated TUE.  If the TUE is approved, you will face no further action regarding the positive test.


What are the risks of taking supplements?
Before using any supplement, it is important that you and your support people understand the risks involved.  Supplement labels don’t always say exactly what is in them, or how much and DFSNZ cannot approve any supplement product or its use.  Supplements include protein powders or drinks, pre-workout shakes, energy drinks, herbal remedies and vitamins.  As an athlete you are solely responsible for every substance in your body. By taking a supplement, you accept the risk that it could contain a banned substance, which could ultimately result in you receiving a ban from sport, should you return a positive test.


Will I be drug tested?

DFSNZ’s testing programme plays a crucial role in detecting and deterring doping in sport.  Testing aims to protect the rights of clean athletes to compete in clean sport.   While testing is primarily focused on high performance athletes competing at the international level and emerging athletes competing at the national level, DFSNZ can and does test lower level athletes where there is good reason.

You could be tested in-competition at an event, or out-of-competition, at training, at home or at any other time or place, including whilst you are overseas.

More information about the testing process, including athletes’ rights and responsibilities is available on DFSNZ’s website.

How do I report suspicious doping activity?

If you’ve seen something or suspect that doping might be occurring, you should contact DFSNZ and speak out. Have you seen someone with a bunch of syringes or pills, with no good explanation? Or an athlete with a sudden change in behaviour or appearance? Have you been approached and offered free samples of “gear” to help you perform?

Anyone can report suspicious doping activity. The best and most secure way to make a report is through the DFSNZ website, email intel@drugfreesport.org.nz or phone 0800 DRUGFREE (378 437) and ask to report doping.  Any information you share with DFSNZ will be treated in the strictest confidence and you can report anonymously if you wish.  DFSNZ wants to hear from athletes, coaches, managers, doctors, sports administrators, sponsors – basically anyone who has information to help keep sport clean.


Education and resources

[NSO] encourages all athletes and support personnel to be aware or their anti-doping responsibilities, understand the need to comply with the Rules and that doping presents a risk to health, reputation and career.

DFSNZ have great education tools available including free e-learning courses and resources.

E-Learning: DFSNZ has three free courses available – Level 1, Level 2 and Coaches.  Learn more and register.

Resources: DFSNZ has free hardcopy and downloadable resources available including handbooks, wallet guides, youth resources and parent’s resources.  You can order or download resources.


I need help!

If you have any questions, please contact DFSNZ on 0800 DRUGFREE (378 437)

Your point of contact for anti-doping matters is: Mike Lord, Sport Development Officer, e.mike.lord@surflifesaving.org.nz,  p.03 388 4999 ext 4


DFSNZ Education

DFSNZ Resources

DFSNZ E-learning