Bodybuilding supplements ban on Irish troops in Chad


Bodybuilding supplements ban on Irish troops in Chad

IRISH SOLDIERS serving in Chad are being asked to open parcels sent from family and friends in the presence of military police after bodybuilding supplements banned from overseas duties were found in the baggage of some troops.

All protein or dietary supplements that include pseudoephedrine or ephedrine are not permitted.

Such ingredients are not illegal drugs but would result in a positive drugs test if taken by athletes who are tested in competition.

A Defence Forces spokesman said that before leaving for Chad soldiers had been informed the supplements were not permitted on the mission.

The substances alter blood biochemistry. As a result they could nullify medicines taken by all of the Irish in Chad to prevent malaria and could also undermine urine and blood tests conducted on the mission for a range of medical conditions.

The Defence Forces became aware some troops were taking the substances after soldiers had checked in their bags in Ireland in advance of the 99th Infantry Battalion being deployed to Chad in January for their four-month tour of duty.

The substances were banned from the mission after concern was expressed by members of the Medical Corps.

When members of the 99th Infantry Battalion had checked in their bags in Ireland on January 12th they were reminded that health supplements packed were not permitted.

Any containers of the supplements found in their baggage were confiscated by the military authorities ahead of departure.

The spokesman said there was no question that anything found was an illegal drug. The matter was being treated merely as a “medical issue”, he said.

As a precaution, the military police are now checking parcels in Chad in case any of the soldiers are sent the substances from family or friends at home.

The Irish Times understands the distribution of parcels to the troops based at Camp Ciara in Goz Beida, in eastern Chad, is being delayed because all packages are now being checked.

If anything illegal were found the military police could arrest and question those the parcels were addressed to.

The Camp Ciara base has training facilities for troops including weight training aids. It is believed the soldiers bringing the supplements to Chad intended to use them to aid their planned training regimes while on the UN peace enforcement mission.

Many soldiers fill their down-time by jogging around the base and lifting weights.

They are not permitted to leave the Camp Ciara base during their time off and no alcohol is permitted on the mission.

The Defence Forces spokesman said none of the material seized had been sent for testing because it had been found in sealed containers available for legal purchase over the counter in Ireland.

He was unable to say how many soldiers had been found with supplements in their baggage in advance of the January deployment.

Random drug testing, which is carried out within the Defence Forces in Ireland, is also conducted overseas.

The most recent round of overseas testing was in Kosovo last month when no positive tests were returned.

The UN multinational mission in Chad – known as Minurcat – consists of 5,200 soldiers, 300 police, and civilian personnel.

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