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A major e-sports league is planning to submit pro players of games like "Counter-Strike" and "League of Legends" to random drug testing. The move comes on the heels of a pro player's admission of drug use, in an interview last week on a Counter-Strike YouTube channel.
"We were all on Adderall," said Cory Friesen, who goes by the handle Semphis. "It was pretty obvious if you listen to the comms [voice communications]."
"Everyone does Adderall at [Counter-Strike tournament] ESEA LAN right?" asked the interviewer.
"Yeah," replied Friesen.
Adderall is a prescription amphetamine used to treat disorders like ADHD, but is also habit-forming and is often abused as a study or focus aid. It's banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency in other sports — and the Electronic Sports League, a major organizer of competitive events worldwide, will now be taking steps to ensure it is not in use at their events, either.
The threat of doping in e-sports isn't new, either: Last year, a prominent pro gamer spoke out on the topic, saying players would often take several drugs before starting a match. These aren't just friendly competitive games, either. With millions of dollars in prizes and sponsorships on the line, these events are major professional opportunities for teams and players.
The first drug tests will be performed at a tournament in Cologne, Germany, next month, and testing will continue at other major ESL events going forward.