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The list was first introduced in March 2004. Cocaine in an athlete’s urine sample has ever since been deemed a more serious offence than the presence of other substances of abuse like cannabinoids or narcotics. While cannabinoids and narcotics have always been classified as “specified substances”, or ones less likely to be used as a performance enhancer, cocaine has always been classified as a “non-specified substance”, or one more likely to be used as a performance enhancer. As a “non-specified substance”, cocaine is in the same category as anabolic steroids, testosterone and human growth hormone.

Many suggest that cocaine does not improve performance, nor is it being used for such results, by athletes. The case of Peruvian footballer José Paolo Guerrero at the Court of Arbitration for Sport has led many to call for WADA to introduce a new category of “substances of abuse” to deal with recreational drug use and reclassify cocaine as a “specified substance”. Other Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) cases that have wrestled with the sanctioning of footballers with the presence of cocaine in their body include Jobson Leandro Pereira de Oliveira,  Brian Fernández, José Enrique Angulo Caicedo and Adrian Mutu.

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