11th December 2017

DFSNZ begins prosecuting athletes implicated by website

Drug Free Sport New Zealand (DFSNZ) has begun sanctioning after an investigation found that approximately 100 athletes had bought prohibited substances from an online steroid website, the owner of which was jailed earlier this year. ‘Dozens of athletes from a range of sporting codes, from weekend club players and upwards have been identified as having interacted with an online steroid operation run through the website Clenbuterol NZ’, read a DFSNZ statement. ‘Website operator Josh Townshend was jailed earlier this year for two years for advertising, possessing and supplying prescription medicines. Two types of substances that are prohibited in sport have been identified – anabolic agents and hormone and metabolic modulators.’

Townshend was sentenced to two years imprisonment in May after admitted to 129 breaches of New Zealand’s Medicines Act 1981, including possession, advertising and sale of anabolic steroids, clenbuterol, and related medicines under his APS brand name illegally used for sports performance and image enhancement. ‘The products he sold were not of a pharmaceutical standard and their lack of quality assurance posed a real risk to those using them’, read a statement from New Zealand’s Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority (Medsafe). ‘Townshend was blatant in his advertising and promotion of the medicines. Medsafe estimates that over one year Townshend supplied the equivalent of 2,100 10ml bottles of clenbuterol and approximately 2,400 units of other medicines which were primarily 10ml vials of anabolic steroids for injection. A verbal warning to Townshend from the Ministry of Health in March 2013 was ignored.’

DFSNZ today announced that ice hockey players, Mitchell and Lachlan Frear, have been sanctioned with two year bans. Mitchell Frear is a member of the national team, and has played ice hockey at an international level since 2008. The Sports Tribunal of New Zealand ruled (PDF below) that he had ‘purchased a substance online without any consideration of the risks and in breach of the high standards expected of all athletes. He exercised no caution whatsoever in purchasing the product’.

The Sports Tribunal accepted that Lachlan Frear’s purchase was for weight loss body image purposes and not related to sport performance. It also accepted that he did not receive or use the substance, but still sanctioned him with a two year ban (PDF below).

‘In this case both young players have been naïve in believing that the product purchased was a fat burning product only’, read a New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation statement (download here). ‘Both young men deeply regret not having checked with relevant experts prior to their purchasing decision and have accepted the decision of the Sports Tribunal of New Zealand’. 

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