As eSports continue continue to grow in popularity, it’s perhaps not too surprising to see virtual competition mimic conventional sports. However, there’s a dark side to the highest echelons of any sport — and it seems that it’s spilling over into the world of eSports.
Pro Counter-Strike: Global Offensive player Semphis was very frank about drug use in a new interview recorded by Launders CStrike. The player stated “We were all on Adderall,” when talking about his team’s performance at a recent tournament, an event that he describes as ‘fun’.
Semphis goes on to suggest that the players’ use of the drug was probably very obvious to anyone listening to the comms channel. Furthermore, both he and his interviewer seem to agree that use of Adderall as a performance enhancer is rife throughout the CS:GO scene.
Adderall is a psychostimulant typically used in the treatment of conditions like ADHD and narcolepsy. However, it’s effects have given rise to widespread use in universities for students looking for a way to enhance their focus. It’s easy to see how this would spill out into the competitive gaming scene.
While Adderall is considered fairly safe when administered by a doctor, users can easily become addicted without the guiding hand of a medical professional. Large doses have been known to trigger psychosis, and when the drug is being self-prescribed, it’s much more likely that the dose is going to exceed the recommended measure.
With big money on offer to the best players in eSports, it’s of little surprise that some are resorting to these means to gain an advantage. There are typically few restrictions on such behavior set by event organizers, so players are relied upon to self-discipline — although it seems like this system has to change.
If eSports want to be truly taken seriously, it will have to clean up its act. The scene is on the verge of hitting the mainstream, but it would only take one controversy for that process to be nipped in the bud. Depending on how far this story travels, the damage may well already have been done.
As eSports struggle for legitimacy, news like this is only ever going to be a setback. There are plenty of elements of traditional sports that the scene would be eager to replicate — but it’s safe to say that the use of performance enhancing drugs does not fit into that category.