‘Doping’ describes the use of prohibited substances (e.g. anabolic androgenic steroids), or methods (e.g. manipulation of blood) by athletes to improve athletic performance. It was thought to be a practice exclusive to professional athletes, but the use of doping agents has also been reported among amateur sports people and public gym users and it is a growing public health concern. Community pharmacists (CPs) could play a vital role in reducing doping among the general public.
At a time when members of the general public are starting to use doping methods and substances to improve their appearance and fitness levels, it is important that community pharmacists, the recognised drug experts on the high street, can safely advise them on the risks associated with doing so. Community pharmacists themselves have admitted that their own knowledge of doping is limited, therefore, approaches to improve this are needed to prevent a public health crisis.
In harmony with the SAFE YOU approach, the project will focus on empowering people to make the right decision for themselves; and will see the role of community pharmacists, and their support staff, as facilitators of this process.
This multi-disciplinary project will build upon the rich collection of education materials of the Safe You project. These include 38 case studies of competitive athletes and exercisers, a robust theoretical framework for empowering people via developing (health)literacy; and an established methodology for multi-site co-creation.
The project will encompass an extensive literature review and needs assessment; co-creating educational approach(es) and materials for pharmacists, as well as the implementation and evaluation of these. In doing so, we will use mixed methodology (with surveys, individual 1:1 interviews, focus groups and co-creation sessions).
The supervisory team has expertise in pharmacy, pharmacy education and anti-doping. Prof Andrea Petroczi is an internationally recognised expert in doping and anti-doping who works closely with the World Anti-Doping Agency and numerous national anti-doping organisations, and a co-creator for the SAFE YOU project. Prof Reem Kayyali is a pharmacist and professor at Kingston University with interests in public health, medicines optimisation, self-care and the use of innovative technology in health. Philip Crilly is a community pharmacist and pharmacy teaching fellow at Kingston University. His research interests include the use of digital technology to promote public health.
The ideal candidate will have a degree in pharmacy and interest in sport and doping. An interest in the use of innovative technology to promote health would also be desirable.