BELCONNEN, Australia, March 22. SWIMMING Australia has issued a blanket ban on all sleeping pills, including the drug Stilnox that has plagued the organization with negative media publicity in the past two years.
Though the federation had not allowed the drug among its elite athletes at the London Olympics, members of the men’s 400 free relay admitted to using the drug during a night of pranking before the Games. Those athletes were given reprimands, but not suspended for any substantial length of time.
An article in News.com states that “hefty fines and lengthy suspensions” will be given out to athletes that use Stilnox and other sleeping prescription pills. Swimming Australia CEO Mark Anderson said swimmers may be searched while on international trips if suspected of possessing sleeping pills. Because sleeping pills are not on the list of banned drugs by the World Anti-Doping Agency, Swimming Australia will not test athletes for Stilnox, according to the article.
Though sleeping pills are commonly used among swimmers to help them sleep better during major meets, Swimming Australia wants to find more natural ways to get its athletes to fall asleep. A study was conducted to understand athletes’ habits before bedtime, including use of technology and the ambiance in their bedrooms.
Largely due to the issues it’s faced with Stilnox, Australia is the only major swimming nation to crack down on use of the drug.